Drivers demand government action to reduce glare from car headlights

Drivers demand government action to reduce glare from car headlights
Car headlights should be better regulated to reduce the dazzle they cause on-coming drivers, says a new report by concerned road users, light experts and other specialists.

The Group – led by Baroness Hayter, a long term consumer champion – will meet the Department of Transport’s Lords Minister on 16th January to present the case, and to urge the government to undertake research to better understand the causes of the problem, and to investigate the need to introduce appropriate standards on new tech, high spec headlights including LEDs which produce glare that can temporarily blind other drivers, risking road safety.  

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, between the ages of 15 and 65, the time it takes to recover from glare increases from one to nine seconds. 

At 60 miles an hour, that’s 250 yards in nine seconds.

Baroness Hayter said: "The Group’s first interaction with Ministers led them to say: No problem here, no evidence of deaths or serious injuries. Since then, the public have reached out to tell us they disagree, and that many are stopping driving at night, with eight out of 10 drivers surveyed wanting action to reduce glare. 

"We know other countries share our concern, with drivers demanding action. The Government needs to heed our call for action and be on the side of road safety.

"The Highway Code states, 'You must not use any lights in a way which would dazzle other road users' – a requirement breached on every road every night.

Rod Dennis, an RAC spokesperson, said: "A large majority of drivers we surveyed tell us they find the dazzling nature of some car headlights makes driving difficult, if not unsafe.  

"While current regulations governing vehicle headlights are agreed at an international level, we think the whole topic warrants more focus from the Government.  

"There is a good argument for independent research to be commissioned that gets to the root causes of headlight glare so that the problem we know so many drivers face can be tackled."

Dr John Lincoln of LightAware said: "Many modern headlights are incompatible with dark-adapted human eyesight – particularly for older drivers. They are too bright, too blue and blinding over too long a distance.  

"Regulation is required to cut the risk of accidents and reduce driver fatigue.”

View the full report here.

What do you make of the glare from car headlights? What can be done? Leave your comments below. glare from car headlights

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The Group’s work followed an Oral Question from Baroness Hayter in the House of Lords on 30 January which led to cross Chamber support on the issue, followed by responses from the public calling for action. The Group subsequently reviewed the literature from the UK, Europe and the USA, finding growing demands for restrictions on glare.

The meeting with Lord Davies of Gower will take place on 16 January 2024.