I’m known to be a big fan of the Economic Commission for Europe, ECE in short. Not everyone shares my enthusiasm for their work and regulations. Well, they are mainly people who don’t like international regulations anyway and put the ECE in the same drawer with the EU, another organization they don’t appreciate very much. But the ECE is a UN organization and is older than the EU. The Commission includes representatives from many countries, including ones outside Europe, and from industry. They are constantly being bombarded with requests from all sorts of interest groups. And now from me, too. Here is my wish list for the members of the Commission:
- Restrict the luminance. When people feel dazzled, the reason is very often light-emitting surfaces that are too small. Here’s an example: the same amount of light from a headlight front the size of a dessert plate is considered less annoying than from a lens that is only a few centimeters across. That’s down to luminance. Of course we all learned at driving school not to look into the headlights of an oncoming car. But human nature means we still sometimes do it.
- Focus on the lights. Give designers the chance to run riot on other things. Who says that a radiator grille has to be so big that there’s hardly any space left for the lights? Or that an indicator clearly visible from the side is ugly? Who wants a stylish strip instead of two rear and brake lights? Certainly not you, so regulate it.
- Create reasonable repair methods. Like everything on a car, headlight lenses are subject to wear and tear. So far it’s been legally controversial whether and in what form repairing or refurbishing is allowed. Buying a new headlight for a lot of money only because of a scratched or dull lens is not possible or acceptable for everyone. You could prescribe that they have to be replaceable. With high-quality original parts instead of the inferior stuff that is offered on the internet, of course. The little extra cost for clips instead of glue wouldn’t ruin any car manufacturer. Or how about rules for professional refurbishing and products for it? Drivers and manufacturers of sensible parts would be grateful to you.
- Finally make a decision on retrofits. There are many excellent arguments for and against retrofits. I’m talking about LED light sources which are fitted in lights designed for incandescent lamps. The market is full of them and their suitability differs vastly – because there are no rules. Make some or say that retrofits remain banned. I could live with either.
- Nip it in the bud. The temptation is great. Someone in development or design has a more or less great idea and you regulators haven’t made a rule for it yet. But a friendly approval authority allows it nevertheless. Sometimes the majority of you don’t find that great at all. Why not fight against this retrospective rubber-stamping?
Typical for wish lists, certainly not all my five wishes will come true. But you could at least grant a couple to your fan, couldn’t you? Then I’d continue to defend you against unjustified criticism. Promise.