Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

GM to Test Daytime Car Lights in U.S

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

GM to Test Daytime Car Lights in U.S

Article excerpt

Lamps Improve Safety Factor; Cost as Little as $3 Per Vehicle

By Steve Everly

Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, Mo. _ Drivers who turned on their motor vehicle headlights during the recent foggy weather can begin to understand the idea behind daytime running lights.

Daytime running lamps are just beginning to become available in the United States, although they are required in Canada, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The lamps have been slowed in the United States partly because of questions about their effectiveness in more southern latitudes.

But the case for daytime running lights has been bolstered recently by evidence showing their effectiveness in preventing daylight accidents, and not just during twilight hours, which are longer in northern countries. As a result, General Motors made a commitment last year to begin installing the lights.

"We've found that they do work," said Ed Lechtzin, GM's director of legal and safety issues.

Daytime running lights will be on all GM cars and light trucks by the 1997 model year. This year the automaker will produce 1.5 million vehicles with the running lights as standard equipment. Retrofit kits for older GM models probably will be available by March.

Aside from Volvo and Saab, other automakers serving the domestic market have yet to make commitments to install the daytime lights. And for now there's no pressure from the federal government to do so.

"There are no plans to require them," said Tim Hurd, a spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Daytime running lights come on automatically when the car is started and put in gear. They work by operating the high-beam bulb in the headlights but at a lower illumination. Parking and other outside lights are not turned on.

If it seems simple and inexpensive, it is. …

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