posted 5 years ago

Exclusive: Campaign Against “Blinding” Headlamps Takes Fight To California petition to be funded by £2,500 legacy from late campaigner’s will

A campaign group calling for a ban on powerful headlamps on British roads is taking its fight to the United States in a “rear-guard” action against European legislators, can reveal.

The campaign group is to launch an e-petition on the site calling for high-powered headlamps to be banned from the roads in California.

They hope that a change in legislation in California could prompt manufacturers to end what has been described as an attempt to “out-shine” each other with increasingly brighter headlamps.

Publicity for the petition is to be funded by a £2,500 legacy left by late anti-xenon headlamp campaigner and former British cab driver Ken Perham, who died in 2012.

Mr Perham’s campaign partner Roy Milnes told that repeated attempts to fight for legislation in the UK had failed because many of the laws in this country are effectively formulated via Europe.

He said: “We now hope that by campaigning for change in California, where road safety issues of this type are taken very seriously, we can fight a rear guard action against the people who decide the laws in Europe.

“If California was to ban use of increasingly powerful headlamps, manufacturers might finally do something about it.”

Call for a ban

Almost 4,600 motorists signed a previous UK online petition calling for a ban on the headlamps which are now routinely being fitted to modern cars.

Originally fitted to more expensive vehicles, High-Intensity Discharge lights are now becoming commonplace.

While there are clear benefits for motorists whose cars are fitted with HiD or B-Xenon lights, even those who have them fitted to their own cars say that they can be dazzled by them when approaching vehicles which also use them.

Manufacturers are now starting to trial laser-powered headlamps, prompting concerns that headlamps are going to get even brighter. is a worldwide organisation backed by volunteers campaigning for an end to the use of increasingly high powered lighting on motor vehicles.

Highway Code

Lightmare claim that powerful headlamps could contravene the Highway Code, which states that drivers MUST NOT use any lights in a way that would dazzle or cause discomfort to other road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

We’re interested to know what you think. To vote go here:

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has previously said that there is no evidence that high power lights distract drivers.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, SMMT Chief Executive Paul Everitt said that the use of lamp-levelling technology ensured that they were safe to use and said that they were particularly important on poorly lit roads to enable drivers to identify hazards.

*Don’t forget to leave a comment in the opinion box and share this article on Facebook and Twitter.


i cant even go out at night because of them fucking lights,i hope someone can do something about them

intelligent lighting also requires intelligent drivers. night vision is reduced by any white light it requires at least 15 minutes in a dark or red light environment to be effective so reducing car lights intensity will do nothing. Do not look at the lights but look along the kerb to avoid being blinded by opposite direction vehicles. improper use of lighting is not policed nor is speeding in towns or on motorways. We have become a nation of drivers who routinely ignore driving laws. Modern high intensity lights have to be managed by their drivers but are much better than previous systems. Their beams are controlled auto levelled and do not dip by turning off the light, they redirect the beams. Do not ban the better lights but train the drivers and properly police the rules. If brits were more law abiding and patient we may all enjoy a better motoring environment. Our government even seems to think that parking on double yellow lines may be ok. It is defintely not and illegal. Mr Pickles please note.

As an londoner living in France I cannot believe the comments made by Robert Beveridge about driving on the continent, the roads here are among the best, and on a point of information you only pay on motorways, where all the revenue collected is spent on the upkeep of said roads try it sometime. or drive on non motorway roads (free), there is nothing wrong with UK falling into line with European roads which are far superior in condition and services provided, (ever wanted a pee on the M25?) having driven many miles on UK and Continental roads give me the continental roads every the time, Hoo is not the Dartford Tunnel and it,s toll system (just updated to relieve congestion and speed up traffic) not owned by the French. I know this has nothing to do with bright headlights but talking about old laws how about lighting up some of the more dangerous roads in UK.which Penny pinching council in their wisdom turned off causing fatal accidents. OVER n OUT.

I drive over 50K miles a year and I am totally sick of night driving facing these lights. Their use is unsafe and I have been thinking of starting a campaign. Not just this but also the selfish use of fog lights needs to be dealt with. If the UK policed forces were worth the space they take up they would crack down on poorly aimed headlights and illegal use of fog lights. I think it will be well beyond my life time before we see any action on this. Welld one to the minister of transport for all the other really useful things he spends his time on.

Quote: Get the UK out of the EU Its constipated!! It certainly is, and people think motoring as we know it will go on forever, they do not realise the EU will have some nasty surprises for British motorists, like having to change tyres when they are only half worn etc etc. If we let the government get away with it our motorways will fall into line with European roads and we will have to pay to use them, and the roads themselves will be owned by venture capitalists and foreign governments. Universities are already trialing the gummage which will debit your credit card and track every yard of your travel, if you are driving a vehicle every minute of your time will be accountable. You think our gas & electric is expensive being owned by foreign companies, when foreign governments and business control our motoring gas and electric will look cheap.

I think that these lamps are so bright that drivers driving on full beam may well not fully develop their eyes night vision capability and therefore cannot see as far. I have a letter from the transport ministry that states that being temporarily blinded on brows of hills and right hand corners is not seen as a safety hazard. I had a Range Rover along side me the other day on the M23 These lights dip left of course so my door mirror became blindingly bright for miles. They should certainly be banned for dipped beam use. On a country lane a month ago because of the poor road edge condition I was driving in the middle of the road when 100m away a car with these wretched lights on full beam came round the corner ahead. I stopped in the middle of the road the car approached to 10m before dipping its lights enabling me to move to the left. I asked my passengers (all drivers) did I have any choice - they said no stopping was the sensible option. Get the UK out of the EU Its constipated!!

Hi Tony Quote : Bright Headlights especially when inconsiderate morons leave headlights switched on when parking on the wrong side of the road. If you mean on your side of the road facing you, its an offence, with lights on or off, not many of the plod know of this law, but it is an offence to park facing oncoming traffic during the hours of darkness. It would take some researching, but I think its an old law that is still active but never acted upon, and its about time they did.

I'm all for a ban on Over Bright Headlights especially when inconsiderate morons leave headlights switched on when parking on the wrong side of the road. The consequences are potentially catastrophic as everyone approaching can only close once eyes to avoid the GLARE!!!

Vernon Taylor speaks with great expertise. I live in a country area and have a '14 reg BMW225d which is a joy to drive, rapid smooth and economical. It has HID bi-Xenon headlights which are good to drive behind, they self level, swivel and auto dip. BUT they blind oncoming drivers. The self levelling only works once on start-up so normal road undulations cause dazzle (HID lamps run on full beam continually, shutters should prevent glare on dip). The auto dip is slow, they don't react till they see a light so oncoming drivers are momentarily blinded. The over-bright LED daytime running lights cannot be dimmed and mask the turn indicators. I know the highway code doesn't recommend courtesy flashes (but a bit of politeness goes a long way) but these are masked also. Ophthalmologists say these lights are a danger to the eye, UNECE rule makers who have only done static laboratory tests claim they don't blind. Are car makers are putting lives at risk for a marketing gimmick?

The French used to get around quite well with cadmium yellow headlamps of only about 35 watts. The British too used to have a lower wattege light but a much more usable and friendly beam pattern. A car with a well-maintained British-American four headlamp system and standard bulbs is well equipped for driving at our National speed limit. On those occasions where such lights don't seem sufficient for driving at speed then clearly a reduction in speed is advisable. The continental assymetric beam pattern is quite difficult to achieve and badly designed lights allow a lot of light to escape outside the beam pattern. The answer according to vehicle manufacturers is to provide a more intense or higher-powered light source. The British-American beam pattern was a much more concentrated and directional beam of light which allowed very little light to stray and so less power input was required. A well-designed headlamp unit can give a much more tightly-controlled beam pattern; an ideal example was the headlamps used on the old Talbot Alpine/Solara range that were superior to most car headlamps at the time even though they didn't even use halogen-type bulbs and had 10watts less power input. Another problem about modern headlamps with safety concerns is the so-called colour temperature of the light that on paper is supposed to be closer to natural daylight. That is just a puff of advertising of course as the light actually has a higher than normal blue content which in practice makes light colours appear to flare brightly but tends to leave dark impenetrable holes in the night-time scenery. Most modern cars would not have complied with Britain's pre-Europe Construction and Use Regulations in the matter of the positioning and intensity of the lights and there were very good reasons for those regulations, not the least of which recognised the massive contribution to driver fatigue that high intensity lights and lots of very reflective surfaces have (mostly on other drivers).

I cannot see mainstream manufacturers putting cars on the road with badly adjusted head lights, while the bulbs are whiter they should not shine further or higher than the normal legal setting for most bulbs, the only instance I can think of when bulbs have been an annoyance is when another car has been coming up hill and I have been on the flat above it so for a few seconds the beam hits your eyes, but while the light is whiter the intensity should be no more than a normal yellow bulb. Some car headlights might be badly adjusted which the MOT test should sort out if the car has a MOT cert, although some of the problem I think is aftermarket bulbs supplied by motor discount stores.


I wondered when someone would complain about this issue. Even on dipped-beam the light produced by these headlamps is dazzling. The light also appears to scatter more in wet weather, totally obscuring other drivers view of the road. I'm am surprised they were ever authorised for use in the first place.

It seems that Mercedes want to outshine all other brands. Their Xenon headlights are far too bright and really annoying on these dark wet nights. Thank God BMW are still sane and not following Mercedes and Audi. As soon as I buy a new car I turn my headlights down to position 1 or 2 for around town then move them back to zero (highest dipped level) for motorways in order to throw light as far as possible. This is not required around town. Think about other drivers!!! Finally drivers who switch on fog lamps when its not foggy need to get a life!!

There are so many cars on our roads with faulty headlights, one or no brake lights and drivers who do not know or understand the rules for using rear fogs (there is even one on here who has it all wrong). One light system that should be banned immediately are day running lights on the front only - why not on the rear? Strangely, it seems most users don't even know their cars are completely dark from the rear. I told one driver recently that she had no rear lights and she looked at her light switch and said I was wrong! B-Xenons are not as big a problem as rear foggers, badly adjusted head lamps or Range Rovers (and others) driving around in the dark on 'parking lights' - the clue is in the name - durrr.

In my experience, the dazzling problem is caused by badly aimed headlights, predominantly on older cars. Modern cars with self levelling systems have excellent cut off areas which are very precise. Auto dipping could be a better answer rather than taking a backward step on car illumination. I use Amber driving spectacles at night which I recommend to anyone who suffers from the dazzle effect.

Make headlamps above a certain level of brightness an MoT failure. It is relatively easy to construct a device that over a specified length measures the light intensity across a specified area. These lights are at best annoying and at worst downright dangerous. Should be banned.

It would help to some extent if manufacturers were to go to a maximum of 3,500 degrees Kelvin instead of the incorrect but fashionable 6,000 degrees K. When headlights are used in the dark, lower colour temperatures are much better for the human eye to accept and just as good. The lens pattern needs much improvement and manufacturers do not get it correct.

I drive very high mileage and I find badly adjusted headlights are more of a problem. Xenons let me see a lot better on rarely lit, poorly marked, terribly surfaced roads in Buckinghamshire. Let's fix damaged headlights, people driving with fog lights on when visibility is over 50m and then we can worry about legal use of decent quality headlights.

I have to drive every night on narrow twisty country roads ,and am completely blinded by these powerful headlights ,and for a few scary moments I am unable to sea anything . I have good eyesight and am a experienced driver .

I wonder if "night driving glasses" are a possibility. They could use an optical filter designed to block the blue end of the spectrum but allow the reflected light off the road from the drivers own headlights to pass. I find the flashing lights of emergency vehicles even more of a problem.

NO STREET LIGHTS NO CATS EYES NO ROAD MARKINGS I EVEN SAW A SIGN WHICH READ "danger worn out road markings" {was this written by a joker or what} all this in just one week visit to Buckinghamshire UK.which is one area that sticks out as a bad offender when it comes to unlit and dangerous roads So get real you campaigners against bright headlights and join a campaign to light up the roads.

Could the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations (1989) be amended to state the maximum lumens for headlamp bulbs? Also how about enforcing the same Act and stopping the use of foglamps in clear weather? These are mainly used for cosmetic effect.

Rarely do I use my sun visor as my eyes are good in bright conditions. It seems with these new lights, my sight is compromised to the point of panic. It must be even worse for fellow drivers with blue, sensitive eyes. For the head of SMMT to say there's no evidence is just daft.

I can't believe that automatically dipping headlights haven't been incorporated into vehicles.. so that, if your lights are on full beam, approaching headlights(or even a lit up street), will automatically cause them to be dipped; as will the oncoming vehicle's lights, when it 'sees' yours!! Simple!!? Your views on this would be appreciated.

What is more dangerous is having only one headlamp working. Let's see some accidents stats where faulty/bright headlamps are a contributing factor before getting to excited though.

It's the idiots who have brought brighter bulbs, stroke retro fitted Xenons or are just driving with head lights that will fail an M.O.T. Xenons if fitted correctly levelling and wash wipe, do not dazzal. Just that most people have not gotten with the times and started to realise that so called normal lights are not good enought for modern driving conditions. Mind How You Go!

People that say they aint to bright are proberley the ones who drive around with there lights on full beem all the time or dont bother getting problems fixed with self levelling systems and such

I thoroughly agree that headlights on many cars when on dip are blinding and far too bright, one just has to pass a traffic hold up at night and you can easily spot the offenders,I also believe many of those car's headlights are badly adjusted , the brightest headlights could be subdued if they are set to dip properly, a good example of this are HGV's they are far more rigourously tested and very seldom have dazzling dipped headlights.

I think the main problem with bright lights at night lie with the new ambulances with high powered LED flashing lights, great in the day very dazzling at night, there should be a law to make them dim at night

If you consistently think headlights dazzle you then I suggest a trip to the opticians. You probably have cataracts developing and should not be driving at all.

I feel headlamp are getting to bright but I think that a bigger problem is the amount of cars on the roads with only one headlamp working ad this to the fact that the headlamp that is working is blinding you it is very difficult to work out what is coming towards you. When I first started driving thirty years ago you would be pulled over by the police in no time and told to get it repaired and given a producer and have to show evidence that it had been repaired With your document's obviously this doesn't rate very high on the police agender any more.

Some mortoring safety experts advise to use the footbrake until such time as the vehicles behind you are stationary. This is to help prevent rear end shunts. Xenon headlights often have less glare if fitted correctly. But it should now be mandatory on all new cars to have self levelling headlights, as well as dimming circuits if one headlamp fails. Motorcyclists should be fined for driving on high beam whilst following vehicles just because the idiot riding it thinks it makes them more noticeable. I can't notice you if I can't see you any more. Those who fail to dip beams to on coming traffic, probably don't hold doors open either, clean the table they have just fed at or flush the loo they have just used. Can't really do much about people like them, I blame the parents for copulating in the first place. They probably weren't even aware of what they were doing to create offspring like this

as a regular daily driver day and night i can say that the problems are being caused by people retro fitting older cars and motorcycles with HID lamps which were never designed to be used in them. modern cars and motorcycles have very good lighting but custom fitting them to older cars is a bad idea, the resulting glare is really uncomfortable as is the choice of colour temperature, for instance fitting a bmw with 8000k lights is just an attempt to make other people think you might be a police car! there needs to be tighter regulation on HID sales, after all you still don't see HID kits in Halfords, only on Ebay.

The bright lights are great for the driver and I have less problem with dazzle from these sort of lights than from badly adjusted halogen lights. The beam spread from the xenon lights are flatter and have a wider spread, such that they do not need adjusting when going on the continent. By the way, drivers of automatic cars need to keep their foot on the brake when stationary.

I don't really think headlamps currently fitted to vehicles in the UK are a problem, except tractor headlamps which are often very close together and, it would seem, permanently pointing straight ahead. It is the angle which may be more of a problem and some manufacturers supply vehicles where the beams are incorrectly aligned, and this is often not picked up until the first MOT comes around. I once bought a new Renault, and sometimes got flashed by others. It was not until the first MOT that we discovered the problem was that although it was right hand drive, it was fitted with lamps which dipped to the right!

It's all well and good talking about "self levelling" systems. All I know is that come dark nights in winter, more often than not I'm going to be dazzled by cars coming towards me. And then for good measure, I'll have my retinas burned away by the good folk who no longer use the handbrake to hold their car at a standstill but use the footbrake.

Immediate action is required in the UK to curb this nuisance. Apart from blinding drivers of oncoming vehicles it is a downright hazard and can lead to head-on collisions. Some drivers are not aware that a headlight can be “dipped”. The rule of thumb with regard to speed during the hours of darkness or night driving is “accelerate only as far as you can see”. It stands to reason that a main beam will encourage speeding. Let common sense prevail. Legislation must prevent manufacturers trying to get an edge on their competitors by equipping their cars with powerful headlights and using it as a marketing extra or feature.

daytime lights why not at the rear as well if a car needs light on in the day why so the on coming car can see you !! if you cant see a object 12 feet long in daylight without lights you should not pass your driving test what was wrong with the old rule headlight on when no street lights Mercedes and bmw's and audi's are the worst offender whats sad the drivers of these vehicles don't even kbow there blinding oncoming traffic cos oncoming traffic isn't blinding them

I agree. Although HID lights are dazzling, an even bigger problem is the idiots who drive with their fog lights on ALL the time, sometimes coupled with just their sidelights instead of their headlights for some bizarre, unknown reason... Another problem is morons who buy 'off road' bulbs from Halfords, eBay or similar and then fit them to road going vehicles...Some think they're clever removing them at MoT time, then putting them straight back on again after the test...

It's the idiots with their lights adjusted to point at the sky who need tackling. There is nothing worse than one of these tools driving on your bootlid illuminating the whole car interior and blinding you via the mirrors..... If only the police would slap a big fine on them!

There are far bigger issues,like day time running lights (stupid) they're becoming like headlights and they draw your attention from the road ahead.Not entering junctions safely,crossing lane lines particularly at roundabouts,speedsters tearing up behind you then sitting on your tail even when the road is clear, causing tailbacks and having the 3rd vehicle having to overtake 2 motors,hogging the middle of the road at junctions preventing drivers from turning left/right causing more tailbacks....

The official position is that good reflector design and self levelling prevents dazzle from HID headlights. Good reflectors concentrate the beam preventing stray light but concentrate the intensity of the lightbeam where it does point. Self levelling should prevent dazzle on level roads but do nothing on undulating roads. Simply even correctly adjusted lights will zap other road users at times. Power (lumens) has to be limited to control the degree of dazzle. Preventing dazzle entirely is impossible.

Different people have very different levels of sensitivity to light. Very bright lights can completely blind oncoming drivers when bright vehicle goes over speed bumps or is approaching over a hill or bridge. Roadworks arc lights can also be very dangerous, as can the totally unneccesary intensity of multiple flashing lighhts on police vehicles.

If the output [lumens] and not the input [watts] was controlled by legislation then there would be some sense in imposing such legislation..

Bi-Xenon headlights are not that bright, just more akin to daylight. Confusion abounds does it not? The average English motorist does not use appropriate lights, in fog, heavy rain, snow and other comprised situations, you should use rear fog guard lights. Front fog lights are anathema, use your headlights please. Modern headlights with automatic levelling &etc are seriously more safe than driving behind a set of suspect Halogen beams despite what Road (un)safety campaigners might tell you. Where do we find these anti safety people?

Bright headlights and those not aligned properly cause a blinding glare in the rear view mirror of the car ahead whuch is downright dangerous. The times I have had to tip my rear view up in order to avoid the dazzle hightened by by glasses is too often. These headlights should be banned forthwith.

There is no need for these new bright lights nor is there any need for front and rear foglights to be used in good visibility conditions. There is also the problem caused by drivers who do not know how or are too lazy to use their handbrake when stopped at traffic lights dazzeling the driver behind.

We had fog in my part of the UK on Saturday. Didn't see anyone using front or rear fog lights. But if it had been a bit cloudy in daylight, they'd have all had them on. And yet, you never see or hear of the police busting anyone for unnecessary use of said lights.

Better brighter lights are the way forward but only for proper headlamps with the necessary controls. A lot of young drivers are retrofitting HID lights into cars not designed to take them causing glare and dazzling other drivers. Although this is illegal it should also be an MOT failure. Proper OEM HID have a number of safeguards to prevent dazzle with automatic levelling (no little wheel) and proper shutters to block light out