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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
December 10, 1922

More attention is constantly being given to proper automobile headlight equipment, and New York motorists have just been notified of the revised list of approved lenses which will be required on all automobiles registered in this State by May 1 next.

At present the motorist whose headlighting equipment has been examined, tested and approved by the authorities of one State has no assurance that his lights will be approved by any other State into which he may happen to drive, because there has been little agreement among States as to methods of testing automobile head lamps or as to what constitutes a proper and what a "glaring" headlight.

This annoyance will be removed as soon as the various State motor vehicle departments adopt the specifications of laboratory tests for approval of electric headlighting devices for motor vehicles which have just been approved by the American Engineering Standards Committee.

The approval of one set of specifications for such a test by the American Engineering Standards Committee, which provides the machinery for developing standards on a national scale, will place before the motor vehicle departments of all the States factors which represent the consensus of opinion concerning the most effective and desirable method of testing automobile headlights.  Even before these specifications had been formally approved nine States indicated that they would adopt the specifications, and in three States they are already in effect.

The specifications were submitted by the Illuminating Engineering Society.  That organization and the Society of Automotive Engineers have been appointed joint sponsors for any revision and further development which may be necessary.  Approval of the specifications was recommended to the American Engineering Standards Committee by a special committee which had been appointed to investigate their practicability.  The committee, of which David Van Schaack, Vice President of the National Safety Council, is Chairman, was composed of representatives of the automobile manufacturing industry, accessory manufacturers, officials of motor vehicle regulatory bodies, insurance companies, safety organizations, technical societies and the United States Bureau of Standards.

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