LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — New bolder, whiter lights are supposed to help drivers see the road better at night. But they could create dangerous distractions for other drivers.

Now, Donald Berry from Pasadena has started a national petition to ban what he called ‘blinding headlights.’ “At the very least, the powers that be should be investigating this,” he said.

Berry maitained the lights create a greater potential for accidents. “I don’t think prior to this, anybody was going: ‘Oh, my headlights aren’t bright enough’,” he said.

“It’s almost like looking into the sun,” Michael Fineman pointed out. “It’s distracting. It looks like somebody is driving with their brights on.”

That’s what oncoming traffic increasingly looks like these days, thanks to new LED headlights, which draw very little power from the car’s electrical system.

“They can last upwards of 20 years where the old lights lasted between two and five years,”AAA’s Robert Sinclair explained.

But Drivers of oncoming vehicles said they are glaringly blinding.

Dr. David Kleinman, an opthalmology professor, said the glare from the headlights can make it harder for the eyes to focus.

“The bright illumination can be disabling,” he explained.

Drivers may also find it hard to gauge distance between vehicles on dark roads, especially when LEDs are used in taillights.

Experts said it is a problem often made worse by car owners who install the lights after market at the wrong angle and height.

“The second issue is the color of the illumination. Bluer light has an added stress,” Dr. Kleinman said.

Director of Operations for Consumer Reports Auto Test Center, Jen Stockburger, said all headlights, including most LEDs, must meet federal safety standards.

“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. “The data says that even though these brighter, whiter lights are a discomfort to oncoming drivers, they haven’t  been the cause of crashes.”

Wearing glasses with an anti-reflective coating can also help cut down on the glare.

Comments (8)
  1. David Tomb says:

    Why is his petition now closed? They should stop reporting the story if he backed off or changed his mind. See his petition here: https://www.change.org/p/california-governor-investigate-blinding-headlights-and-soaring-death-rate-among-bike-riders

    1. Kenneth Li says:

      maybe he just jealous that he can’t afford a new car. haha

  2. I’m 86 years old and drive sometimes 5 or 6 hundred miles a day. I try to do most of that at night. Just came back from 2000 mile trip. I don’t have le3d lights but have no problem with drivers that have them.

  3. They probably woke him from the slumber most drivers are in these days, either from being on the phone or just being inattentive.

  4. Stan Clauson says:

    There is a considerable difference between European and American headlight standards. European headlights have emphasized glare control and have a sharp cut-off at a lower angle. Current Audi and BMW models in the U.S. have a fairly sharp cut-off, although usually not as sharp as their European model counterparts. The introduction of LED headlights in the U.S. has given up all pretense of glare control. The light source is not the issue, whether halogen, xenon, or LED. It is the configuration of the reflector, lens, and any screen devices that really makes the difference. We would do well to adopt European lighting standards for all U.S. vehicles.

  5. Zacharyr Beeblebrox says:

    Totally 100% agree, when a vehicle approaches with led headlights I get an immediate pain across my forehead, brake lights are just as bad, it may stop me driving altogether