Today I learned BMW charges extra for a dont blind other people software update

When you typically think of luxury car features, do you envision rich leather seating and extravagant trim? Advanced cruise control and intelligent self-parking? Whatever youre imagining, Im betting dim my headlights so I dont blind other people isnt it.

But not only has BMW used its High Beam Assistant as an upsell for well over a decade, its also charging drivers extra to unlock the safety feature thats already built into their cars by buying it as an over-the-air software update.

Apparently, this has been going on for nearly two years, but Car Magazine editor Jake Groves brought it to my attention for the first time this week in this viral tweet:

Lets forget the price for a moment, because thats not what infuriates me. (In the grand scheme of things, 160 isnt a huge amount for your average BMW buyer to spend.) Its that the rest of us are depending on BMW drivers being such good citizens that theyll spend their own money to avoid showing off the power of their blazing headlights, all because a car company locked a perfectly good public safety feature behind a digital paywall.

Perhaps there should be a law about this? Dont expect the US to move on that anytime soon, though; adaptive beam headlights are actually still illegal in the United States, while we wait for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a final decision on whether to even allow them, much less encourage their use. That ruling was supposed to come last year. Ive asked the NHTSA whether theres been any movement, and Ill let you know what I hear.

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