Pulsating Lights an Option for Truck-braking Safety

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Safety & Security

A rear-end view of an on-road truck
Pulsating brake-activated strobe lights are now a safety option to prevent rear-end collisions.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently granted a limited five-year exemption to FMCSA’s 49 CFR 393.25 to allow National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) motor carriers to install red or amber brake-activated pulsating lights in addition to the steady-burning brake lights; it’s now an option that some fleets may be able to benefit from.

FMCSA’s 49 CFR 393.25 states all exterior lamps on a vehicle are required to be steady burning, except turn signal and hazard warning signal lamps, tow truck amber warning or flashing warning lamps, commercial motor vehicles transporting oversized loads, and warning lamps on emergency and service vehicles.

The administration had found that rear-end collisions are often the result of a failure to respond to slowing or stopped vehicle and account for approximately 30 percent of all crashes. The most likely suspect is distracted driving. Additionally, FMCSA found that data between 2010 and 2016 revealed that large trucks are three times more likely to be involved in rear-end accidents resulting in fatalities.

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) also recognized that tank carriers have a high stake in ensuring trailers against rear end collisions since they are often hauling hazardous or flammable materials, putting them at an even higher risk for serious or fatal injuries in rear-end crashes.

FMCSA, TCA, and NTTC have all come to the conclusion that distracted driving is not only widespread, but on the rise, and truck carriers must take further steps to protect themselves.

Groendyke Transport, based in Channahon, Illinois, recognized the risk and installed a brake-activated pulsating amber light in addition to the steady burning brake lights from January 2015 to July 2017. The result was an immediate decrease of 33.7 percent in rear-end accidents.

Pulsating lights, like Peterson Manufacturing’s amber and red LED brake-activated strobes for tanker trailers, provide a series of flashes when the truck is braking, to alert potentially distracted drivers to the slowing or stopping truck in front of them.

The company says its LED Auxiliary Brake-Strobe Light and Harness System is specifically designed to meet the specifications of the FMCSA’s 49 CFR 393.25 five-year exemption.

Source: Peterson Manufacturing