Brake lights

My 1995 Volvo 850 had an indicator on the dash to let you know when a light was out. That car is now over twenty years old.

My 2005 Porsche Boxster would tell you precisely which light was out on an LCD screen, and while I understand it’s a premium brand that was also their entry-level car. That car is over ten years old.

So why is it that American auto manufacturers still haven’t adopted something similar? There isn’t a week that goes by without me seeing a car missing a brake light and sometimes two out of three. Wouldn’t that be considered a safety issue? How has no American company thought to integrate that feature as something to boast about? Do we really only add safety features when required to by the NHTSA?

I imagine and hope the current migration to LED lights will render this point moot, but until that transition is complete I will remain puzzled at U.S. car makers’ approach to quality. Little touches like that are why I tend to buy (used) European.

4 thoughts on “Brake lights

  1. At least one American car had a tail light monitoring system as far back as 1968. With the advent of the third generation, shark-bodied Stingray, Corvettes came with a standard fiber-optic tail light indicator mounted at the base of the console trim surround. This was a feature from 1968 to 1971, but was discontinued for the 1972 model year.

  2. The system for American cars is that if a turn light is out the other light on that side will flash a double speed to let you know. (Indicated on the dash as well.)

    Also, don’t forget about politics and contractual agreements that are probably keeping this system in place.

    • I think that’s a function of the resistor getting twice the current or something since one circuit is open, yes? But that’s for blinkers. We don’t have anything for brake lights.

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