Proper lighting

April 2, 2018
Updated chart helps trucking industry understand illuminating requirements

About the author: Spata is technical services manager for NTEA, Farmington Hills, Mich. The NTEA was established in 1964 and currently represents nearly 1,600 companies that manufacture, distribute, install, sell and repair commercial trucks, truck bodies, truck equipment, trailers and accessories. Buyers of work trucks and the major commercial truck chassis manufacturers also belong to the NTEA. The association maintains its administrative headquarters in suburban Detroit and a government relations office in Washington, D.C. Its website ( provides an interactive listing of members and their products and services as well as important industry news and resources. Contact the NTEA at 800/441-NTEA; e-mail [email protected].

The National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) recently published an updated U.S. Federal Lighting Chart that provides the commercial truck and transportation equipment industry with information for determining compliance with the lighting requirements in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 108.

The U.S. Federal Lighting Chart was updated to reflect changes, help alleviate confusion and clarify the federal requirements. These requirements are found in Title 49, Part 571.108--Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 (FMVSS 108). The changes to the lighting chart illustrations are summarized below.

Poster-size changes

Lamps and reflectors are now shown as separate items. The standard did not change, but the NTEA has found that users of the chart were only looking at the illustrations and not reading the tables, notes or standard. This eliminates the chance of installing lamps without reflectors. A lamp and reflex reflector may be combined, as allowed by the standard, so long as the requirements for both are met.

Also, they do not have to be located at exactly the same height. For example, the height requirements for side reflectors is 15-60 in. from the ground to the center of the lamp at curb weight, while the side marker lamps are to be located at a height of not less than 15 in.

Intermediate side marker lamps and reflectors are only required on vehicles with an overall length of 30 ft or more and are to be positioned in the middle of the vehicle (or as close as practicable), equal distance between the front and rear-side marker lamps. For example, on a straight truck this means that the intermediate side marker lamp and reflector would not necessarily go on the foremost side corner of the truck body, but more rearward of that edge as this is where the midpoint between would measure out.

Stop, turn, tail and hazard lamps are required in numbers of two or more. FMVSS 108 also requires that they are to be located on each side of the vehicle centerline, at the same height, and as far apart as practicable.

The new lighting wall chart is a component of the new NTEA U.S. Federal Lighting Guide Kit. The new kit includes a laminated wall chart and a comprehensive guidebook to help the user understand the U.S. Federal Lighting Requirements and how to apply them in the vehicle certification process. The guidebook includes: FMVSS 108, 49 CFR 393 Subpart B of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, numerous articles published by the NTEA that are related to lighting and website links to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lighting interpretations and other compliance aides.

The new NTEA U.S. Federal Lighting Guide Kit is available for $35 members; $70 nonmembers. Posters are available for $15 members; $30 nonmembers. Quantity discounts for posters are available.

About the Author

Steve Spata

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