Blinded by the light: Safety group petitions Congress for headlight regulations

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Driving at night can be challenging enough. Now, commuters are dealing with something different -- brighter car headlights.

If you travel at night, you've probably seen cars and trucks equipped with headlights that seem brighter than what you are used to.

There is a reason: The headlights are brighter.

The issue, according to advocates at softlights.org, comes down to the density of light coming from LED bulbs that the group says are becoming more common on American vehicles.

"The characteristic of LEDs is that they're built on a flat chip, a flat surface, and because of that, there is an intensity in the middle of the chip," said Mark Baker with Soft Lights. "This is an unregulated intensity. The government does not regulate that, so it can be as intense as anyone can make it."

For drivers who encounter bright headlights, the Texas Department of Public Safety has long-standing guidelines when it comes to passing safely.

DPS recommends that you avoid looking directly into the headlights of approaching vehicles. Shift your eyes down to the lower right side of your traffic lane.

Soft Lights has organized a petition asking for more federal oversight concerning headlights. The group is speaking with congressional leaders about the issue.

For now though, those brighter lights are still shining.

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