CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WRIC) — A Virginia state senator has proposed a total ban on blue headlights, a move designed to remove a car modification some see as a dangerous nuisance.
Senator Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake) submitted the legislation ahead of the General Assembly’s January session. The law would ban all car modifications designed to make headlights “appear as a blue light, such as by covering the headlights with a tinting film or by using blue bulbs.”
Blue Headlights, like those found in some varieties of LED bulbs, are sometimes favored by luxury car manufacturers because they appear brighter than traditional halogen bulbs, which give off a more yellow glow.
However, the use of blue headlights is controversial. A report by the National Highway Transportation Administration in 2007 found that “people experience more discomfort when exposed to the bluer HID headlamps than when they are exposed to the yellower halogen headlamps.”
The report also added that there was no evidence that the discomfort for other drivers actually resulted in a reduction in visibility or other serious safety issues.
But the blue bulbs could present a danger to the drivers who use them as well. That’s because, in foggy or wet conditions, blue light refracts more readily off of water molecules than yellow light does, meaning that although the headlight beams appear brighter, they scatter quickly and actually decrease visibility by creating a “dazzling” effect.
*Correction Notice: This article has been updated to reflect the proposal for the blue light ban does not impact all LED bulbs.