A Solution to dangerous and polluting daytime running lights







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Last updated

13 December 2010


Headlamps are designed for seeing with - in 2010 it is archaic for vehicles use focussed blinding High Intensity Discharge headlights to dazzle other drivers - front mounted headlights these are a throwback to 1904 when acetylene lamps needed a reflector to produce forward light and there were few vehicles.


Because safety sells, certain manufacturers promote bright 1,200cd daytime running lights, governments like DRL because the extra fuel gives them  more tax revenue, lamp bulb manufacturers like them because standard bulbs burn out every 10,000 -12,000 miles and garages like them because they charge for fitting new lamps at service intervals.  To change the headlamp bulb on some cars costs 200.


The solution is to use energy efficient, durable long life  Organic LED (OLED) using electro-luminescent polymer films which can provide a safe glare free illumination with a maximum  intensity of  200 candelas (about the same as a computer screen). Imagine the whole front and rear bumpers gently glowing or the whole vehicle outlined in OLED with no disabling glare.



The parking light headlamp rim lighting system by BMW is an excellent example of acceptable DRL luminance levels.


(Note: the standard 35watt BMW DRL can cause glare and irritation to other drivers)



DRL and Xenon-HID headlights can cause glare and dazzle particularly over crests and humps or when accelerating under load.


This is in contravention to rule 114 of the UK Highway code:

"You MUST NOT  Use any lights in a way which would dazzle or cause discomfort to other road users" 


For the future, irritating High Intensity Discharge (HID) low beam headlights could be recessed and shrouded so oncoming drivers do not see any light distracting source.  High beams could still project directly forward when no people are ahead.  The Japanese have developed a concept car using colour change OLED front panels which highlight the whole vehicle with the intensity of a computer screen.


Technology has overtaken environmentally polluting distracting 55watt tungsten halogen daytime headlights, imagine a child crossing a street vehicles gently glow with energy efficient OLED.

Which do you think is the safer option?


If the European Commission were really concerned with reducing accidents why have they not mandated:

  Advanced driving tests and regular re-tests?

  Eyesight tests at three year intervals?

  Headlights which do not cause glare and dazzle at night?