The U.S. Department of Transportation requires all vehicles over 10,000 pounds to be marked with reflective tape. This tape, commonly called DOT C-2 tape, must comply with certain size, color, and quality regulations. Trucks and trailers are required to follow DOT requirements for reflective tape on trucks, but many do not. The purpose of reflective tape is to increase safety for commercial motor vehicles, including trucks and trailers, on the road. In addition to reducing side and rear impacts, it also increases visibility for other motorists.
Retroreflective tape reduces side and rear impacts to heavy trailers in dark conditions
The use of retroreflective tape on heavy trailers has been shown to decrease the number of rear and side impacts by about 41 percent. In studies where drivers did not use proper lighting, reflective tape was less effective in reducing the number of side and rear impacts by about 41 percent. These numbers represent statistically significant reductions from 31 to 51 percent. These results do not apply to rear impacts, which occur in daylight.
The most effective estimates were obtained when the tape was used at three different lighting conditions. Effectiveness estimates in the dark-not-lighted condition were the highest. The combination of all four dark conditions was partially beneficial but less effective than in dark-lit conditions. In Pennsylvania, there was a slight benefit from the tape. In Florida, the effect was not statistically significant. Moreover, when there was sufficient light, the tape was not effective.
It increases visibility of heavy trailers to other motorists
DOT requirements for reflective tape on trucks are mandatory for commercial vehicles 80 inches wide or wider. It must be applied in certain shapes and sizes, and it must be positioned horizontally on the truck’s sides and rear. If the truck is not fully reflective, it can be replaced with reflex reflectors. The DOT requires that the red and white striped tape on the trailer’s sides and rear cover extend to at least 50 percent of the truck’s length.
Increasing conspicuity of truck tractors with reflective tape is not a good solution for all truck drivers. The new regulations could create an unnecessary burden on truck operators. However, the government is determined to improve the safety of everyone. As a result, these regulations could significantly reduce the number of serious crashes and injuries. However, the benefits of conspicuity tape are not clear.
It is required on combination trucks
Reflective tape on combination trucks is a requirement in most states. These strips are intended to make combination trucks more visible to other motorists. Their red-white alternating pattern helps other drivers judge the distance to a combination truck. Many crashes occur when the combination truck is not visible, such as at night or in bad weather. Adding reflective tape to combination trucks can help reduce these accidents. In addition, these stripes are expected to be more effective in low-light conditions.
DOT requires truck drivers to apply 2′-wide reflective tape to the sides of their trailers. The reflective tape must be as horizontal as possible and must begin at the front and end near the rear. Conspicuity treatment does not need to be continuous. The sum of segments must cover half of the trailer’s length. The spaces between segments must be evenly distributed. In addition to the trailer’s sides, the top and bottom corners of the trailer must be marked with solid white.
It is required on truck trailers
DOT requirements for reflective tape on truck trailer have strict specifications for its placement, width, and spacing. Typically, reflective tape on a trailer extends approximately half the length of the vehicle and must be between 15 and 60 inches wide. The same rules apply to truck tractors. They must have similar placement on the back of the vehicle, and the tape must be positioned as near to the front and rear edges as possible.
The material used for reflective tape on truck trailers must be highly visible. This requires the tape to be visible when the truck is parked and empty. In addition, it must have a centerline that is at least 15 inches above the roadway when the trailer is unoccupied. Several factors affect the DOT requirements for reflective tape on truck trailers, including the weight and location of cargo. If the reflective tape is not placed correctly, a driver could face a level I inspection. The driver could also be assessed with three points for failure to comply with conspicuity sheeting regulations.