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Outdated Regulations Hinder Technological Improvements

Posted in Posts, and Syllabus Schedule


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has strict rules about safety and signaling features on vehicles, and for good reason. But these rules can hinder innovation if they aren’t revisited often enough or are too narrow in their definitions. Now, Toyota has filed a petition to the agency requesting that it reexamine its headlight regulations, which haven’t seen changes since 1999.

In Europe and Japan, Toyota is already selling vehicles with new smart high beams which automatically dim when approaching another vehicle; but this camera-based technology is not yet permitted in the US. The NHTSA should ensure that regulation permits new experimental technologies which show promise to improve safety or comfort. Otherwise, this type of rulemaking will slow the progress of smart technology into vehicles.

source: Automotive News



  1. kuveke

    This is seen all the time when a government’s bureaucracy is slow to adjust to changes. While this can be good so that only changes that the majority agrees on go into effect all too often small changes are ignored because the time and resources it takes to overturn normal procedures is not worth the benefits of the change. It is difficult to imagine a solution either because it can be timely to go through all proposed changes to laws and regulations.

    May 16, 2013
  2. Agreed! As a PACE judge I’ve visited both Valeo in Paris and Koito in Shizuoka Japan to see new lighting technologies, just two of many finalists. US regulations do indeed impede better lighting — I’ve gone through demos, the new (primarily European) lighting systems really help with illuminating the side of the road, too, critical in an area such as Rockbridge County with so many deer. But until the regs change, tough luck for us (and for deer).

    In many areas of the car there’s been homologation of standards. Not in lighting — I know there are other areas, too, but this is one I’ve personally encountered/

    May 16, 2013
  3. tyler

    My mind, when looking at how international auto regulations differ, immediately jumps to the thought of “global vehicles” and “One Ford.” While having to change headlights for, say, a US Ford Focus vs a UK Ford Focus obviously wont make the car no longer economically viable, it does mean Ford cannot take as great an advantage of economics of scale when buying X number of standard headlights and Y number of auto-dimming. Hopefully the regulators will realize that no only do these out dated laws hinder innovation, but also profits!

    May 16, 2013

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