Daytime headlight usage reduces accident risk

In California, drivers are required to use their headlights only when it is dark or during certain types of inclement weather. Research has shown that using headlights at all times may reduce the risk of accidents. Since it will likely be some time before all cars are equipped with daytime running lights, the burden is on drivers to do so voluntarily.

The effect of daytime headlights on accident reduction is substantial. Overall, a car using daytime headlights is about 10 percent less likely to get into an accident, according to studies. Headlight usage also reduced the occurrence of some of the most severe types of accidents. Pedestrian accidents were reduced by 12 percent, and motorcycle accidents were reduced by 23 percent for head-on collisions.

Only about 27 percent of new cars sold in the U.S. have daytime running lights as a standard feature. Even if this number were to be increased dramatically, it would take some time for older cars to phase out in favor of those with DRLs as standard. This has led experts to believe that most effective way to encourage daytime headlight use is through new laws making that use mandatory. Some drivers are concerned about the increased costs of using their headlights full time. The NHTSA address these concerns, noting in a study that it would only cost the average driver between $3 and $40 per year.

There is little doubt that daytime headlight usage and DRLs make the roads safer and save lives. While the government may eventually make such headlight usage mandatory, such laws will not prevent all accidents. When an accident does occur and it is the result of the negligence of another motorist, people who have been injured may wish to consult an Northridge, California, auto accident attorney to see how best to seek compensation.