At least ten manufacturers have improved their 2021 headlight offerings by eliminating or modifying inferior choices, according to new ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The TOP SAFETY PICK+ award is driving the improvements. Beginning in 2020, vehicles have only been able to qualify for the higher of the Institute’s two awards if they come equipped with good or acceptable headlights across all trims.
The new requirements mark the latest stage in an effort that IIHS began five years ago to address a longstanding problem. About half of all fatal crashes in the U.S. occur in the dark, and more than a quarter occur on unlit roads. However, the IIHS says manufacturers have historically sold many models with several different headlight systems of varying quality.
IIHS adopted more stringent 2020 criteria for TOP SAFETY PICK+ to encourage manufacturers to make good-functioning headlights standard equipment. The new headlight requirement will remain in place for the 2021 awards.
“It’s common sense that quality headlights protect against night-time and other low-light crashes,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “But even when manufacturers have offered good headlights, too often they were expensive add-ons that could be hard to find.”
So far, manufacturers have boosted 10 models to TOP SAFETY PICK+ from TOP SAFETY PICK by eliminating or changing poor or marginal headlight packages. These include the Audi A7, Honda Accord, Hyundai Palisade, Mazda CX-30, Nissan Altima, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Highlander, Volvo S60, Volvo XC40 and Volvo XC60.
More information on the latest headlight ratings is available here.