The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be permitting automakers to install adaptive driving beam headlights, or "smart headlights," on new vehicles, almost 10 years after Toyota petitioned the agency to allow the technology.
"The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a final rule today allowing automakers to install adaptive driving beam headlights on new vehicles. This satisfies a requirement in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law more than a year and a half ahead of schedule," the NHTSA said in its announcement.
Adaptive driving beam headlights work by automatically adjusting beams so that oncoming drivers aren't affected by the glare. This decision will potentially reduce the incidence of crashes and improve safety for pedestrians and bikers by making them more visible at night.
These "smart headlights" have been in use in Europe for over a decade and are also used in countries like Japan and Canada.
As Reuters noted, this decision was made in response to a petition filed by Toyota in 2013. Both Volkswagen AG and BMW AG also filed petitions to allow the headlights to be used in the U.S.
This new rule change was made to satisfy provisions included in the bipartisan infrastructure package that was signed into law by President Biden in November.
According to the bill, adaptive beam headlights were to be approved for use within the next two years. The NHTSA noted that the technology was approved more than a year and a half ahead of schedule.
"NHTSA prioritizes the safety of everyone on our nation's roads, whether they are inside or outside a vehicle. New technologies can help advance that mission," NHTSA Deputy Director Steven Cliff said. "NHTSA is issuing this final rule to help improve safety and protect vulnerable road users."