Truck Conspicuity and Lighting Display

Trucks are easy to spot during the day, but spotting them at night can be much more challenging and present a greater risk to drivers. Research indicates that nighttime drivers can more accurately gauge the speed and distance of a truck when they are easy to see, and can react to them sooner if a collision is imminent.

Federally conducted studies have suggested that enhancing the conspicuity of trailers resulted in a reduced incidence of crashes at night on unlit roads in which trailers were struck from the back or side. Although trucking companies have known this since the 1960s, the trucking industry largely ignored the issue until the mid-1990s.

Truck conspicuity refers to the factors of:

  • Perceiving that something is ahead on the road in the dark;
  • Identifying that the object is a truck;
  • Recognizing that the position and slower speed of the truck presents a danger; and
  • Stimulating you to take action to prevent an imminent collision.

Studies by the NHTSA confirmed that something as simple as reflective tape had a large impact on reducing truck-related crashes and fatalities, and estimates that full implementation of federal visibility requirements for tractor-trailers will prevent nearly 8,000 crashes each year. It also estimates that equipping trailers with reflective tape will prevent 191 to 350 fatalities per year, along with up to 5,000 injuries. The tape reduces rear and side impacts into trailers at night by 29 percent.

In light of these findings, the NHTSA now requires all heavy trailers manufactured after November 1993 to be equipped with reflective tape or other reflectors. Any trailers not using tape to improve their conspicuity are considered unsafe and defective. At least 50 percent of the length or the trailer must be treated with 2” or 3” wide strips of alternating red-and-white-striped conspicuity material, or 1” wide strips placed no further than 1” apart. Improvements to truck cab and trailer lighting and reflectivity will increase their visibility and prevent crashes by providing early detection and recognition of trucks by motorists.

Truck Accident Attorney in San Francisco, CA

Scarlett Law Group has aggressively fought for the rights of truck accident victims for over 20 years. We are rated among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the Country and have an AV Preeminent® rating by Martindale-Hubbell®. Our team of lawyers is ready to do what it takes to win your case, whether you are facing complex court litigation or are seeking full compensation through a settlement. To get started with a free case evaluation, contact our San Francisco truck accident attorneys at (415) 688-2176.

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