What are CMV conspicuity requirements, you ask. Let’s break that question down a little bit. A CMV is a commercial motor vehicle and conspicuity requirements refer to federal requirements that CMVs incorporate retroreflective treatments or reflex reflectors, such as reflective tape. That’s better. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires CMVs to incorporate these safety treatments on their trailers and the on the rear of their truck tractors to help prevent motorists from crashing into a tractor’s sides or rear when traveling by dark of night or in other situations where visibility is reduced and to help prevent motorists from rear-ending a truck tractor (absent its trailer) under similar circumstances.
Reflective materials, and thus reflective tape (or retroreflective tape) and other conspicuity treatments, are made to enable objects (such as CMVs) to be more visible at night or in other low-visibility situations. In fact, the NHTSA reports that reflective tape can help reduce dangerous impact accidents with truck trailers by 29 percent, and as such, the agency mandates that all CMVs be outfitted with an appropriate form of this safety mechanism.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you understand just how harrowing that is. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, our skilled truck accident attorneys have the compassion, experience, and dedication to fight your just compensation, and we’re here to help.
Length and Width Requirements
Reflective tape comes in a variety of sizes and colors, but the NHTSA recommends that CMVs incorporate reflective tape that alternates between red and white sections, and that the reflective tape should be cut into pieces that measure no less than six inches long and no greater than 18 inches long. A cut measurement of reflective tape, however, should be trimmed if its length will cause it to be obstructive. Further, the tape employed on CMVs should be either 2 inches (DOT-C2), 3 inches (DOT-C3), or 4 inches (DOT-C4) in width.
Getting It Right
Randomly plastering a tractor and trailer with reflective tape doesn’t meet the safety requirements laid out by the NHTSA. Instead, a truck’s trailer should have reflective tape in those locations where it is most effective at increasing the CMV’s visibility, which includes the trailer’s sides, the trailer’s lower-rear section, the trailer’s upper-rear section, and the tractor’s rear section.
The NHTSA gets more specific on the matter:
- The sides of the trailer should have reflective tape positioned as horizontally as feasible in sections that begin and end as close to the trailer’s front and rear as practicable. While the tape should be in sections that are spaced evenly along the trailer—rather than in one continuous strip—the overall length of the tape should be approximately half the length of the trailer. Finally, the centerline of the tape’s width should be between 15 and 60 inches above the roadway (when the tractor is empty)—or as close to this distance as possible.
- The lower-rear section of the trailer should follow the same NHTSA guidelines except that the entire lower-rear section should be covered by one continuous piece of red and white reflective tape.
- The requirements for the upper-rear section of the trailer are slightly different. For this segment of the trailer, the reflective tape should be all white (instead of incorporating the alternating red and white color scheme) and should be comprised of two pairs of white tape that form an inverted L shape at both upper corners (as close to the edges as possible).
- The tractor’s rear section should have red and white reflective tape placed as close as possible to the edges of its mud flaps (or their support brackets) or on the tractor’s rear fenders. Further, the tape should be positioned on the cab’s upper contours (much as they should be on the upper-rear section of the trailer).
Once the reflective tape is properly placed, it is only as effective as it is visible to motorists with whom the truck shares the road. Reflective tape can’t adequately catch the light and reflect it when it’s covered with mud, dirt, ice, or snow, and as such, must be kept clean to be effective.
Tractor-trailers are massive vehicles that, due to their immense size, experience diminished maneuverability as they barrel down our highways and byways. In other words, they are extremely dangerous vehicles. In fact, commercial truck accidents are some of the deadliest experienced on our roads.
What Not to Do
After being injured in a truck accident isn’t necessarily a great time to be making important decisions related to any ensuing legal claim. There are, however, some things to keep in mind that you probably shouldn’t do in such a situation. You are not required to speak to (or make a statement to) any representative of the trucking company, the insurance company, or the legal counsel that’s involved—nor should you. Allow your experienced Philadelphia truck accident lawyer to do the talking for you. Further, don’t sign away your rights by agreeing to the trucking company’s fair settlement offer without first consulting with an attorney. Again, your attorney will help you decide what’s fair and what isn’t. Finally, although every truck accident is harrowing and you may want to simply move on with your life by forgetting about the entire affair, it’s important to recognize that Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations for truck accident claims and that your rights are too important to leave to chance.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Truck Accident, Consult With a Skilled Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney Today
Truck accidents are horrifying and often wreak devastating damages. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a truck accident, you understand how difficult coping with the aftermath is, but help is available. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, our dedicated truck accident attorneys are committed to aggressively campaigning for your legal rights and for your just compensation. Our experienced legal team is here to help, so please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.