The first four months of the year have seen 42 cases being booked on average daily -5,045 cases in total -against people using high beam headlights.The glare from these lights are known to cause temporary blindness and consequently affect night vision of the driver for a few seconds ­ a perfect recipe for an accident.However, lack of awareness among motorists often leads to continued use of these lights in city limits.The lack of accurate data that can correlate high beam use to accidents has resulted in most violators being let off with minimal punishment.However, medical experts point out that the issue needs to be taken more seriously by lawmakers, given the hazards that high beam use exposes pedestrians and motorists on the road to.

“High beams definitely cause momentary blindness.Any pedestrian crossing the road could get hurt. There’s no need to use such lights in cities, where there are enough streetlights. High beam lights disturb vision and clarity. They are meant for vehicles travelling at high speeds on highways,“ said Dr K Bhujang Shetty, an ophthalmologist.

Head of the World Health Organization’s coordinating centre, and chief of the Centre for Public Health at Nimhans, Dr G Gururaj said accidents at nigh-time account for nearly 33% of all road mishaps. Lamenting the lack of concrete data that can link use of high beams to frequency of accidents, he added, “It would require skilled investigation to link the two.“

Excessive high beam usage forced C Sadashiv, an advocate residing at Seshadripuram, to cut down on driv ing during the night. “I can’t see anything for a few seconds when the bright light hits my eyes. I stop my car on the side of the road to avoid accidents each time this happens,“ he added.

Traffic police, on the other hand, point out that many motorists are unaware of the dangers. “People we catch often tell us they are using low beam, when they are not.When we point out the blue symbol on the dashboard, they claim they have no idea what it indicates,“ said Mohammad MA, an inspector on Old Airport Road.

Admitting that some of the dark stretches on Old Airport Road and Old Ma dras Road justified the use of high beam lights, Mohammad said, “But many of them are just negligent. There is a lack of awareness about the adverse ef fects of using these lights.“

Long reach of the focussed beam helps motorists navigate roads at high speeds at night.

Courtesy by TIMES OF INDIA

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