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Using headlights during the day can save lives

Several studies have found that accident rates could be reduced and lives saved if drivers in Connecticut and around the country used their headlights during the day. Some researchers believe that the number of crashes on the nation's roads could be cut by 10 percent if all vehicles were fitted with daytime running lights, and countries including Denmark and Canada have passed laws mandating the use of headlights during daylight hours.

Headlight use during the day is especially effective at preventing accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists. The greater visibility provided by headlights or daytime running lights reduces pedestrian accidents by about 12 percent and certain types of motorcycle crashes by almost a quarter, according to some studies. However, only about 27 percent of the passenger vehicles available for sale in the United States are fitted with this potentially life-saving technology as standard equipment.

It would take decades for daytime running lights to become prevalent even if Congress chose to make them mandatory equipment, and this has prompted road safety advocates to call for laws in the United States similar to those passed in Canada and Denmark. These calls are growing louder because the kind of car accidents that daytime running lights prevent tend to cause serious injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it would cost drivers only a few dollars each year to switch their headlights on during the day.

Drivers are expected to remain vigilant at all times, and they can face both civil and criminal sanctions when their reckless behavior causes injury, loss or damage to other road users. Experienced personal injury attorneys may scrutinize accident and police reports closely for evidence of negligent behavior such as drunk, drowsy or distracted driving, and they could conduct investigations of their own when these documents are inconclusive or incomplete.

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