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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Bureau of Public Roads


Washington Times-Herald
December 31, 1922

Variety of Statutes Makes Trouble for Interstate Auto Traveler.

The United States Bureau of Public Roads is authority for the statement that recently a motorist, in passing through four States, was compelled to buy four different sets of headlight lense for his car.

This was necessary to comply with the laws of four individual States.

The N. M. A. is making an investigation of this problem for the purpose of recommending a solution for adoption by the respective States that will be uniform in all of its operating features.

In a statement on this subject, Secretary Caley, of the N. M. A., says that, "what is fish in one State should not be fowl in another State."

Many of the state statutes throughout the country carry provisions that were promoted by the lens and electric corporations on which they have "waxed fat," and all at the expense of the motoring public.

The latest imposition on the gullible motorist was by Massachusetts in the form of a tail light during darkness.

A searchlight on a fast traveling vehicle, going twenty-five miles an hour or more on a public highway, would not enable one to read the numbers correctly in such a short space of time that it takes a traveling car to flash by.  If you cannot read the number on a fast-moving car during the day time, then all the special lights in, under, or around a registration plate will not show up the number unless the number itself is of a distinctive and legible character.

We all know that there is need for regulation of headlights and spotlights and that they will not present any unnecessary glare when passing other vehicles.  However, this is not the last solution of anti-glare as street and highway grades change the focus or alignment of the light, and there is not a State that does not have highway grades of one degree or another.

The engineers of the country will be asked to go into a more intensive study of this problem so that the headlight nuisance can be regulated by "fool-proof measures."

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