Government to Study Headlight Glare Epidemic

After public pressure on the matter, the study will now look at headlight glare to reduce the number of cases where road users are dazzled


KTM headlight

The government is going to look into the issue of bright headlights on cars and other vehicles. It comes after pressure from lobby groups and also a petition that was set up and garnered tens of thousands of signatures.

The independent study into the matter is partly thanks to the RAC, which has been speaking to drivers about the matter since 2018. The results of this suggest that 85 per cent of road users feel that the issue is more commonplace than it once was. Of those who felt negatively about the problem, 91 per cent said they get dazzled when driving, with nearly three-quarters confirming that being dazzled by an oncoming car was something that happened regularly.

Headlight specifications are internationally governed, and while brighter, more piercing headlights do give road users a clearer picture of what is ahead, the upshot of the latest specification of headlights is that they can become dazzling to oncoming traffic. 

The issue is particularly bad for us bikers, especially when riding in wet weather with spots of rain on the visor. The reflection of headlights on a wet road is also sometimes worse for motorcyclists, as we have a generally higher view of the road ahead and less bodywork ahead of the rider to shield our eyes from the glare.

Responding to the petition, the government response reads:

'The Government has taken action internationally to address concerns raised about headlamp glare. Recognising the need for further evidence, we intend to commission independent research shortly.

'The transitional provisions permit sufficient time for vehicle manufacturers to redesign their products and adapt the manufacturing process, with the tighter tolerances expected to come into effect in September 2027.

'Once implemented, these tougher requirements will help alleviate the number of cases where road users are dazzled. In addition, the DfT also plans to commission independent research to better understand the root causes of driver glare and identify any further appropriate mitigations.’

Speaking about the news, RAC road safety spokesperson Rod Dennis said: 

“The fact the Government has listened to drivers’ concerns and heeded our calls to examine the complex issue of headlight glare in more detail marks a real turning point.

“The topic has undoubtedly struck a chord with motorists up and down the country, with many people contacting us directly to call for something to be done.

“An independent study provides a golden opportunity for the Government and industry to get to the bottom of the problem, identify the factors involved and map out a way forward. We’re aware of regulatory changes being made at an international level that will hopefully make a difference in many years to come, but are concerned that these alone may not be enough to address headlight dazzle.

“There are also known shortcomings concerning the official road casualty data not accurately capturing the true number of incidents associated with headlight glare, so it’s absolutely right that the topic is investigated properly to understand what can be done to keep everyone safe.

“We look forward to working with the Department of Transport to help ensure the study is as robust as possible and drivers’ voices are heard.”

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