Toyota FJ Cruisers May Cause Temporary Blindness

Another day, another recall- and another Toyota recall at that. The company says more than 11,000 FJ Cruisers have lights that are just too powerful and do not comply with federal safety standards that are supposed to prevent blinding other drivers at night.

The issue the NHTSA has with the FJ Cruiser’s auxillary lights, according to safecar.gov:

"These lamp assemblies include 55 watt bulbs and due to this wattage, the combination of the upper beam headlamps plus the auxiliary lamps are too bright and exceed the maximum light output allowed for an upper beam headlamp. Therefore, these vehicles fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, "Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment."

And the consequence:

"Excessively bright lamps may temporarily blind oncoming drivers, increasing the risk of a crash."

Coincidently, I'm pretty sure I was temporarily blinded by an FJ Cruiser the other night while driving on a freeway in Los Angeles. Of course, everyone's luxury SUV in LA has bright lights anyway that seem perfectly aligned to the rearview mirror in your normal hatchback, so I can't say for sure it was an FJ Cruiser because I was briefly blinded. But anyone driving a car at night would welcome fewer dazzling lights.

Owners will receive notices from Toyota later this month and have the 55-watt bulbs in those lights swapped out for 35-watt bulbs. And don't ignore those notices, all you FJ Cruiser owners out there. Those of us driving cars will like you a whole lot more.

Photo: Flickr/Joao Paulo Cars