Should the world follow this new ruling?
Headlamps have always been an integral part of traveling. Even before cars roamed the streets, horse carriages have been using acetylene- or oil-fueled lamps in order to travel at night. Needless to say, these devices allow the driver to see and be seen amid the night's gloom.
Fast forward to today, there are now several types of headlamps, which range from halogens to laser headlights. Of course, nothing can be cooler than the pop-up headlamps of the '80s, but we digress. Daytime running lights have become rampant, too, and so is the automatic headlight function in modern cars.
Gallery: 10 Cars With Pop-Up Headlights
In Japan, however, it seems like automatic headlights are now mandatory, especially for brand-new vehicles. In a report by Driving Vision News, automakers in Japan are required to equip their new vehicles with automatic on function starting from April 1, 2020. And it's not just the current automatic type that you can just switch off at will – the driver shouldn't be able to do so without the light requirement.
The light requirement conforms with UN Regulation 48 wherein the headlamps should be switched on within two seconds when ambient light level decreases to less than 1,000 lux – or around 15 minutes before sunset on a clear day. On the other hand, the headlamps should switch off when the ambient light exceeds 7,000 lux.
As for car models that were introduced before April, they will still be allowed to be sold without automatic lights before October 2021. On that month and onwards, however, every vehicle should be equipped with automatic headlights. All trucks and buses, on the other hand, will all be required with such function from October 2023.
There is a compelling reason for this move by the Japanese government: increased accidents at dusk involving the elderly and bicycles. The automatic headlights shouldn't only provide visibility for the driver, but also increase the vehicle's visibility on the road, therefore mitigating potential accidents with pedestrians and other road users.