DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors Corp. has asked the federal government to require daytime running lights on all vehicles sold in the United States.
GM said last Thursday that the headlights -- which shine at low intensity during the day -- improve safety by making vehicles more conspicuous to other drivers and pedestrians. The automaker began installing daytime running lights in 1995.
A study last year, funded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, found 3.2 percent fewer multi-vehicle daytime crashes for vehicles with running lights.
"They are not a miracle cure, but have been shown to be effective at reducing crash risk during the day because they do make vehicles more visible," institute spokesman Russell Rader said.
However, Clarence Ditlow, who heads the Center for Auto Safety, said running lights are only marginally beneficial.
"It's just another PR and marketing ploy by GM. It's not coincidental their vehicles already have them," Ditlow said. "I would just as soon see GM put stronger roofs on their SUVs than DRLs."
GM requested the lights in a letter to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator Jeffrey Runge. The agency will review the proposal and respond within 120 days, spokesman Rae Tyson said.
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