According to traffic experts, daytime running lights (DRLs) increase a vehicle's conspicuity and detectability. Conspicuity refers to an object's ability to stand out from its background. Detectability is the ability of something to be seen. Research studies are in general agreement that DRLs increase a vehicle's conspicuity. They make earlier detection possible. DRLs also provide a better way to judge movement of oncoming vehicles. They are required on new vehicles in Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Canada. Automakers can hardwire existing lamps on the front of a vehicle to turn on and off automatically with the ignition, or they can provide special lamps that serve only as DRLs. In late 1991, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed to amend Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108 to give permission for (not require) DRL installation. Such a rule would supersede the laws in some states that prohibit the use of DRLs. While nearly everybody agrees that DRLs are a good idea, debate is heating up over how permissive DRL specifications should be. This article examines the opinions of some safety experts, including the assistant director of highway safety for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the manager of the National Safety Council's highway-traffic safety services, a spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the assistant director of automotive safety engineering at GM, another GM spokesperson, and the Fleet-safety Director of Wal-Mart Stores.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Photos;
  • Pagination: p. 20-22
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00716874
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-041 488
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 27 1996 12:00AM