Many Kentuckians suffer serious injuries every year in traffic accidents that were preventable. A large number of these accidents occur when one driver fails to see another motorist who is oncoming or traveling in a lane next to the driver. In Canada and Europe, there are laws that require people to always keep their headlights on while they drive, but there are not any similar laws in the U.S.
In Kentucky, motorists are required to use their headlights when it is dark, but they are not required to use them on clear, bright days. Most carmakers do not install daytime running lights as standard options in new cars. Just 27 percent of the 2017 vehicles that are sold in the U.S. have headlights that turn on automatically when the vehicles are started.
Studies in Canada and Europe have demonstrated that the number of accidents sharply decreases with the use of daytime running lights. For instance, one in Europe demonstrated that accidents involving left turns fell by 37 percent, and two-vehicle accidents fell by 5.7 percent. Motorcycle and pedestrian accidents fell by 23 and 12 percent, respectively. A Canadian study showed a decrease of 11 percent of multi-vehicle crashes.
It would take many years for all of the cars on the road to have standard daytime running lights even if a law was passed mandating them as a standard feature. It is also unlikely that a law will be passed that requires all motorists to drive with them on during the day. Drivers can choose to turn their headlights on whenever they drive, however. If more drivers did so, there might be a corresponding drop in the number of car accidents. People who are seriously injured in accidents that were caused by inattentive drivers who failed to notice them may want to consult with personal injury lawyers.