Time to add retro-reflective tape to single-unit trucks (SUTs)

It is time to adopt modern reflective colors for truck and trailer conspicuity enhancements and require tape on all single-unit trucks (SUTs).

The Underride Network had several member activists receive awards from then President Clinton for their work for reflective tape on big rigs and trailers. We recommended then and now that fluorescent colors replace the poor performing red and white to save lives. A Canadian study found white tape increased driver recognition by over 350 feet from that of red and white tape. Fluorescent colors have similar candlepower to white tape with the added visibility of color for daytime recognition. Lime green and bright orange are commonplace on traffic signs and emergency vehicles because of their superior candlepower. Increasing the amount of reflectors and maintaining cleanliness of reflective material can also increase reaction time for motorists approaching slow moving trucks on hills and in slow moving traffic. Road film can decrease effectiveness of tape and reflectors by 90%.

Download (PDF, 2.58MB)

(Right click to download PDF File). Clean tape and lights with cleaning solvent at every pre-trip inspection to maintain conspicuity! It’s the law! Invisible road film can reduce conspicuity by up to 90%.

§392.33 Obscured lamps or reflective devices/material. (U.S.A.)
(a) No commercial motor vehicle shall be driven when any of the lamps or reflective devices/material required by subpart B of part 393 of this title are obscured by the tailboard, or by any part of the load or its covering, by dirt, or other added vehicle or work equipment or otherwise.


Color Effectiveness
It is time to consider using a modern color scheme for retroreflective tape on
trailers, fluorescent yellow-lime green has been shown to be a safer color choice
than red on fire trucks and street signage. It has a much higher candlepower
than red and is also more effective in daylight, red tape has been ineffective in
preventing large numbers of daytime crashes. Red and white can blend in to
traffic background colors from headlights and tail lights (Red and white dot
confusion). 67% of fatal crashes occurred in daytime during 2004 in the U.S.

USROADS.COM article outlining crash data for lime-yellow fire trucks

FMCSA’s Part 393 PARTS AND ACCESSORIES NECESSARY FOR SAFE OPERATION – Guidance on placement of tape and reflectors on U.S. trucks