I must admit to being baffled by this campaign. I saw DRLs in Canada long before they were introduced here and was impressed -in 'low light but not quite dark enough conditions to put dipped lights on' I thought they made driving much easier as cars were more visible. Given the general climate for at least 6 months of the year here I regard them as a positive contribution to road safety.
The campaign is getting confused over 1) DRLs and 2) more modern forms of headlight.
My wife's car uses DRLs - they are traditional halogen bulbs. So why the concern?
Now other forms of car light such as Xenon discharge and LEDS are a different story. From a driving point of view they are significantly better than halogens - I certainly appreciate them. They illuminate the road much better and farther than halogens and will rarely if ever need replacing - so much greener. (Not sure about how Xenon is gathered from the atmosphere or how much there is left…a question for someone!).
They do require proper car set up - so cars with these have to have auto level adjusting headlights - so that when the car is loaded the lights are not illuminating the oncoming drivers but the road. I think there are three far more serious challenges here that are ignored by this campaign.
First, retro fitting. There a number of cars I have seen that have had these modern lights retro-fitted without the auto-levelling
. These are a danger as the lights do dazzle oncoming drivers as the lights are often ill-adjusted and the absence of suspension levelling means the light bounces up and down with the potholes
I understand these may be a breach of the Vehicle Construction and Use regulations but it is unclear and untested. I think this should be an automatic MOT failure.
Second, night vision. We do not teach drivers how to see correctly at night. The most effective part of the eye for night vision is if I recall correctly about 10 degrees off the centre of the eyeball so you never look where you are going but just to one side.
So many people are dazzled at night because they are looking at lights - and that includes those of oncoming vehicles. This leads to odd driver behaviour. I have seen many drivers crawling at 20mph on a dark straight road (60 mph limit) near me because it is unlit - they are looking where their lights shine (not far) and not into the darkness beyond. Or at the lights of oncoming vehicles. When they reach the lit up 30 mph zone, the pedal goes to the floor and its 50 mph! LESSON: DON'T LOOK AT THE LIGHTS!
Third, age. Whether we like it or not our night vision deteriorates with age (from what level is a more difficult issue). Dazzle becomes more of a problem at night. Road signs can be confusing (hence the driver near rammed by the police this week for driving the wrong way on the A14).
So what? Nationally we need to improve the standard of eyesight tests at driving test level to cover night vision, teach night driving and vision techniques and repeat eye tests say every 10 years, every 5 years after the age of 50 (and yes that covers me).
As for the rest of the campaign its very poor with its use of evidence: the absence of consideration of cultural aspects of driving (France have DRLs to and I don't see cyclists being zapped into mush there, why use Poland - I understand drink driving is more acceptable there - so causal links to DRLs are suspect).
Won't be signing it. The situation (like real life) is much much more complex than the campaign suggests.