Toyota had asked the agency for a rule-making to amend the standard by giving automakers the option of equipping vehicles with the more advanced systems. The automaker did not immediately have comment.
"NHTSA prioritizes the safety of everyone on our nation's roads, whether they are inside or outside a vehicle. New technologies can help advance that mission," Cliff said in a statement. "NHTSA is issuing this final rule to help improve safety and protect vulnerable road users."
Adaptive driving beam headlights provide "more illumination while not glaring other vehicles," the agency said.
The technology has been permitted on vehicles in Europe since 2006.
NHTSA first published a notice of proposed rule-making on the topic in October 2018.
"While it is encouraging to see NHTSA issuing a regulation allowing advanced driving beam, it should be pointed out that the U.S. has lagged far behind other countries in the introduction of this technology," Michael Brooks, acting executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said in a statement to Automotive News. "NHTSA needs to move faster to update safety standards, particularly those with universal support in and outside the industry."
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a group that represents Toyota and most other automakers in the U.S., urged NHTSA in October to expedite a final rule allowing the technology in U.S. vehicles.
The alliance "has supported NHTSA's efforts on the adaptive driving beam [ADB] rule-making and has actively participated in the rule-making process through public comment," John Bozzella, CEO of the alliance, said in a statement. "Research shows the safety benefits of this technology, which can help provide enhanced down-road visibility without increasing glare to oncoming vehicles.
"We are reviewing the final rule," Bozzella added, "and look forward to continuing to work with NHTSA and other stakeholders on our shared priority of a safer transportation future."