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U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces Requirement To Make Large Truck Trailers More Visible

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces Requirement To Make Large Truck Trailers More Visible

Federal Highway Administration
March 26, 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 26, 1999
Contact: David Longo
Tel.: 202-366-0456
FHWA 23-99

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater today announced a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requirement that trucking companies install reflective tape or reflectors on trailers so they can be more easily seen. The rule is part of a U.S. Department of Transportation effort to reduce the number of crashes of passenger cars into truck trailers at night and in times of reduced visibility.

"This requirement will prevent injuries and save lives, underscoring President Clinton’s highest transportation priority—safety," Secretary Slater said. "Making truck trailers more easily seen will help prevent crashes and thus improve the quality of life in communities across America and make them more livable."

FHWA Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle said that the final rule symbolizes the department’s commitment to exploring new ways to improve highway safety. It is the first time that the agency has required trucking companies to retrofit vehicles to meet a new vehicle standard. The department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 1993 has required trailer manufacturers to equip new trailers with red and white reflective tape or reflex reflectors.

The final rule, applicable to trailers manufactured before Dec. 1, 1993, becomes effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register and requires motor carriers to complete retrofitting of older trailers within two years of the effective date.

As part of today’s rulemaking, the FHWA is allowing motor carriers that have voluntarily fitted pre-1993 trailers with colors other than red and white tape to continue using the non-conforming colors for 10 years. However, the rule requires that, at the end of the 10-year transition period, all trailers must be equipped with red-and-white reflective tape or reflex reflectors.

According to the FHWA, this rulemaking will save more than 100 lives and prevent more than 1,700 injuries associated with passenger cars colliding with trailers over the next 10 years. In addition, the rule will prevent approximately 2,550 property-damage-only crashes.

The rule is available to the public in the DOT Docket (Docket Number 1997-2222), will be posted on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov/ after 6 p.m. EST and also will be in the Federal Register next week.

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