Real-world frequency of use of automotive lighting equipment
Authors: Mary Lynn Buonarosa, James R. Sayer, Michael J. Flannagan.
This study provides information about average annual use of the following automotive lighting equipment by U.S. drivers: low-and high-beam headlamps, turn signals, and stop, back-up, parking, sidemarker, and tail lamps. The data were collected as part of a naturalistic field study of crash warning systems. Eighty-seven randomly selected drivers from southeastern Michigan were provided with instrumented research vehicles for periods averaging 26 days and instructed to drive the vehicles as their personal vehicles. The results are presented for each lamp type in terms of the average annual hours of use and minutes used per mile driven. These findings are discussed in relation to the rated life of various bulbs and the average life of vehicles in the U.S. License plate, parking, sidemarker, and tail lamps were the most frequently used automotive lighting equipment, averaging just over 100 hours per year. The least used lamps were back-up lamps, which were used less than five hours per year. Average annual hours of lamp use decreased with increasing driver age. While rates of use for stop, turn signal, and back-up lamps were similar for females and males, male drivers accrued 34 percent more hours of nighttime driving than female drivers, while using their high beams about half as often.