Did you know that 5,237 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal accidents in 2019? This statistic comes from the annual reports of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Although this figure was a 2% increase from the past year’s crash data, the DOT remains committed to increasing road safety.

Among its initiatives is the retro-reflective sheeting requirement for all semi-trucks and large rigs. This initiative requires the rear of each trailer weighing more than 10,001 lbs (4,536 kg) to have reflective tape to make them more visible at night. Here is a closer look into the DOT reflective tape requirements to ensure your trucking operation’s safety.

How DOT C-2 Reflective Tape Must Be Used

There are specific guidelines when it comes to putting reflective tape on trucks. To improve its initiative in preventing accidents related to commercial motor vehicles, the DOT outlines and enforces the requirements through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). These requirements specify that operators must use the following reflective tape colors to cover specific parts of their trailer’s rear:

●  Red and White: You must use red and white reflective tape on the trailer’s entire lower rear bar, the whole bottom of the back, and at least half of the total side length.

●  Silver or White: You must use 12 inches of silver or white reflective tape to cover the trailer’s upper rear side, forming an inverted letter “L” on both sides.

Why the DOT Reflective Tape Requirements for Trucks Exist

DOT reflective tape requirements for trucks exist for safety reasons. This measure ensures that commercial trucks are visible on the road, especially at nighttime. In addition, truck operators need to install reflective tape for their large vehicles to comply with the law. Commercial trucks have a legal requirement to prevent accidents on the road as much as possible. Getting involved in a truck accident after failing to install reflective tape behind the vehicle may lead to a heated legal battle.

How Retro-Reflective Tape Prevents Truck Accidents

Reflectors installed behind trucks help other drivers know that there is a large vehicle in front of them. These safety aids bounce the light from the headlights of other drivers’ smaller vehicles. As such, other drivers can adjust their course to avoid colliding with large trucks. Accidents involving large trucks can cost an average of $91,000 per crash.

Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study assessing the effectiveness of retro-reflective tape on heavy trailers. This study has proven that reflective tape can be successful, considering the statistics it found. Statistics have suggested that heavy trailers with reflective tape can prevent approximately 7,800 crashes in a year. In turn, this could save around 191 to 350 lives and prevent between 3,100 and 5,000 injuries annually.

As a statistically proven safety measure, every trucking operation must highly consider taking the time to install retro-reflective tape on their large vehicles. If you run operations that involve large trucks, be sure to use DOT-C2 reflective tape for your vehicle’s safety measures. This retro-reflective sheeting is the standard for trailers manufactured on or after December 1, 1993.

Types of Collisions Retro-Reflective Tape Can Prevent

Simply taking the time to install retro-reflective tape can help prevent several truck accidents. Most truck accidents happen due to low visibility. Ideally, a driver should have enough time to spot a large vehicle and change course accordingly. However, large trucks can be difficult to spot in situations with limited light, despite their size. Without proper safety measures, drivers may not notice the vehicles until the last second and could get into devastating accidents. Common truck collisions that retro-reflective tape can prevent include:

●  Rear-End Collisions: These types of truck accidents can involve two situations: when a commercial truck backs into another vehicle behind it, or when another vehicle runs into a commercial truck in front of it.

●  T-Bone Collisions: Also known as side-impact collisions, these accidents occur when a commercial trailer turns or backs up, crashing into another vehicle. It gets its name from the letter “T” which forms when the two vehicles crash into each other.

●  Underride Collisions: These accidents occur when a small vehicle crashes into large trailers and slides underneath the trailer. Underride collisions almost always lead to serious injuries and can even end up in fatalities.

If You Are Injured in a Truck Accident Contact LHL Today

While many truck accidents happen each year, they are avoidable. You could look side to side and read road signs carefully, but the statistically proven method is to make sure trucks and large trailers have retro-reflective tape that meets DOT standards. Although these safety measures significantly reduce the chances of getting severe injuries in a truck accident, the risks remain.

Should you get involved in an accident, get in touch with our experienced truck accident lawyers at Laird Hammons Laird as soon as possible. We have the legal skills and resources to resolve truck accidents, from gathering evidence to securing compensation for damages. Contact us today!

Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers at Laird Hammons Laird Trial Lawyers for a Free Consultation

For more information, please contact an experienced Oklahoma City truck accident lawyer at Laird Hammons Laird Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation today. Our law office is located in Oklahoma City.

We proudly serve Oklahoma County, OK and its surrounding areas:

Laird Hammons Laird Personal Injury Lawyers – OKC
1332 SW 89th St,
Oklahoma City, OK 73159
(405) 497-0480