1968 Headlight Rule Should be Changed, Audi Says

By Alex Johnston
Alex Johnston
Alex Johnston
April 16, 2013 Updated: April 20, 2013

1968 headlight rule: Automaker Audi wants the United States to change a headlight rule that was passed in 1968 because its A8 sedan can send lights around corners and have brighter-than-average beams. They also adjust to traffic, weather, pedestrians, and other conditions.

Business Week reported that the cars lights, however, contravene a 45-year-old rule for car headlights to switch only between high and low, with nothing else in between.

Customers in Europe will soon be able to purchase the A8 equipped with the lights but U.S. consumers will likely have to wait a bit longer.

“The lighting technology changed dramatically in the last 10 to 15 years,” Stephan Berlitz, the Audi lighting chief, told Bloomberg News. “It’s difficult to do all these innovative things in this regulation from 1968.”

There are other automakers who are trying to get the U.S. to end the headlight rule. Representatives with the auto industry will meet with federal regulators over the measure in the near future, reported the Washington Post.

Jeremy Anwyl, the head of auto research firm Edmunds.com, told Business Week that adjustable lighting is considered a premium item and desirable for some consumers.

“They’re considered jewelry, so if you can create a sexier design, they can help with sales,” he said.

The Washington Post pointed out last month that the adjustable smart headlights, called “matrix-beam LED lighting,” are available just about everywhere else.

Volvo also features a car with the lighting system and has “permanent” high-beam headlights that adjust with sensors and cameras.