In Pasadena, California, a man has launched a national petition aimed at reducing the number of fatal accidents caused by High Intensity Discharge (HID) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights.
David Berry has launched his internet petition in response to his growing frustration with HID and LED lights, telling 790 KABC, a radio news station in Los Angeles, “You’re getting three to five times the brightness of traditional headlights right in your eyes [from HID]… Now those are giving way to LED lights, which in my book are even worse.”
It is true that the lights are getting brighter as new LED options are replacing the older halogen lights. The reason is LED lights’ energy efficiency: LEDs will use 15% of the total energy used by halogens and still produce 85% more light output.
While many car owners welcome the increased energy utilization, Berry bemoaned the loss of the halogen lights: “They’re easy on the eye even though they do a very good job of illuminating the road. The reason for this is because halogen lights are a warmer color temperature. It’s a yellow (and) easier temperature on the eye.”
Ophthalmology professor Dr. David Kleinman shares some of Berry’s concerns, noting that while “The bright illumination can be disabling,” a “…second issue is the color of the illumination. Bluer light has an added stress.”
But not everyone agrees with the petition. Director of Operations of Consumer Reports Auto Test Center Jenn Stockburger notes that all headlights, including many of the LEDs, must conform to strict federal safety regulations.
“That means they have to have a minimum level of brightness for seeing down the road. But they also can’t exceed the maximum level of brightness and glare,” she said to an L.A-based CBS reporter. “The data says that even though these brighter, whiter lights are a discomfort to oncoming drivers, they haven’t been the cause of crashes.”
Still, some experts have noted that there is a risk of LEDs being installed incorrectly at the wrong angle might cause additional problems for drivers.
Despite any opposition, Berry is hoping to affect change for drivers and pedestrians alike, saying about what he calls ‘blinding lights’, “At the very least, the powers that be should be investigating this.”