Groendyke petitions for pulsating brake lamps on trailers

August 2, 2018

Jami Jones


In an effort to get the attention of drivers behind a stopped or slowing trailer, Groendyke Transport has petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to allow the addition of a pulsating brake lamp to the rear of its trailers.

FMCSA published a notice on Monday, July 30, stating it would accept comments on Groendyke Transport’s petition for exemption from the regulations that require all exterior lamps, minus the turn signals, be steady burning. The agency will accept comments for 30 days.

Enid, Okla.-based Groendyke hauls liquid hazmat, including flammable fuel. The company began looking at ways to prevent other drivers from rear ending their trailers and determined that increasing visibility of the trailers was the way to go.

In addition to citing research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Groendyke admitted to conducting its own field test, without the permission of FMCSA.

According to FMCSA’s notice requesting comments on the petition, beginning in early 2015, Groendyke began installing pulsating brake lamps on some of its fleet without authorization from FMCSA. The goal was the compare the number of rear-end collisions with trailers that only had steady burning tail lights to those of trailers with the added pulsating brake lamp.

“As of July 31, 2017, Groendyke had outfitted 632 of its 1,440 trailers with pulsating brake lamps. Data gathered by Groendyke between January 2015 and July 2017 show that the pulsating brake lamps decreased the frequency of rear-end collisions by 33.7 percent,” the notice states.

“Groendyke also analyzed its data to determine whether the pulsating brake lamps improved outcomes when drivers were slowing or stopping at railroad crossings. Groendyke found that trailers equipped with the pulsating brake lamps were not involved in a rear end crash at a railroad crossing during the same time period.”

The agency is accepting comments on Groendyke’s request to add a pulsating taillight to its trailers in addition to the steady burning lights currently required by the regulation until Aug. 29.

To comment on the petition, click here.

Jami Jones has been in journalism since 1991 – focused on the trucking industry since 2000. Whether judging Shell SuperRigs or writing hard-hitting analyses, she covers trucking from lug nuts to legislation – always with the trucker in mind.