The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has granted an exemption request from Groendyke Transport Inc. that allow the company to install amber brake-activated pulsating lights on the back of its trailers.
Such lights are normally prohibited for non-emergency vehicles. The exemption also preempts state laws that would interfere with operating under its terms in interstate commerce while encouraging states to adopt similar exemptions for intrastate commerce, according to the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) trade group.
“Groendyke demonstrated that installing these lamps on 632 of its trucks reduced their rear-end collisions by 33.7 percent,’’ NTTC said in a press release. “This eliminated all highway-rail grade crossing rear-end crashes in a 30-month period.’’
The exemption, which is effective immediately, lasts until April 26, 2024. NTTC submitted comments supporting Groendyke’s request. FMCSA cited NTTC’s comments in making the final decision, noting that “the agency agrees with NTTC that the 33.7-percent reduction in rear-end crashes documented by Groendyke is both persuasive and compelling.’’
In its comments, NTTC asked FMCSA to grant the exemption to all motor carriers that use tank trailers because “there is no factor unique to Groendyke’s trailers or pulsating brake lamps that cannot be replicated by other motor carriers.’’
FMCSA did not extend the exemption to all similarly-situated motor carriers, despite noting that “large trucks are three times more likely than other vehicles to be struck in the rear in two-vehicle fatal crashes.’’
“NTTC celebrates Groendyke’s victory,’’ the organization said. “But, our twin safety and industry-support missions compel us to officially petition that FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration update the FMCSA standards and allow all motor carriers to achieve similar safety gains.’’
Further information may be obtained by contacting Boyd Stephenson at NTTC, 703-838-1960.