Trailer Lamp & Reflector Requirements

2016 is flying by, with fall upon us and winter right around the corner. Shorter days can increase the amount of time trailers are towed in the dark. With the longer nights, now is as good a time as any to review the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for trailer lamps and reflex reflector requirements. Compliance with trailer lamp and reflector requirements is tremendously important to trailer safety.


LED lamps have become popular on many trailers due to their brightness and attractiveness. Many LED lamps have a Lens Coding “A,” which is required if those lamps are also used to meet the reflector requirements. However, some lamps, LED style or otherwise, do not have a Lens Coding “A,” meaning the trailer needs separate reflectors installed to meet the requirements for: Rear Reflex Reflectors, Rear Side Reflex Reflectors, Front Side Reflex Reflectors, and Intermediate Side Reflex Reflectors. Lamps, LED style or otherwise, that have a Lens Coding “A” can be used to meet both the lamp and reflector requirements all in one.


As a quick reference, NATM has included lists of the lamp and reflector requirements for all trailers, a list of the additional lamp and reflector requirements for trailers 30 feet long or longer, and a list of the additional lamp requirements for trailers 80 inches wide or wider. The reflectors previously mentioned that may be combined with lamps with a Lens Coding “A” appear in bold.


Lamps and Reflectors Required on all Trailers

1. Tail Lamps (Lens Coding “T”)

2. Stop Lamps (Lens Coding “S”)

3. Rear Turn Lamps (Lens Coding “I”)

4. Rear Reflex Reflectors – may be combined with lamp (Lens Coding “A”)

5. License Plate Lamps (Lens Coding “L”)

6. Rear Side Marker Lamp (Lens Coding “P2”, “PC” or “P3”, “PC2”)

7. Rear Side Reflex Reflectors – may be combined with lamps (Lens Coding “A”)

8. Front Side Marker Lamps (Lens Coding “P2”, “PC” or “P3”, “PC2”)

9. Front Side Reflex Reflectors – may be combined with lamps (Lens Coding “A”)

10. All lights and reflectors meet visibility requirements


Additional Lamps and Reflectors Required on Trailers 30 Feet Long or Longer

1. Intermediate Side Marker Lamps (Lens Coding “P2” or “P3”)

2. Intermediate Side Reflex Reflectors – may be combined with lamps (Lens Coding “A”)


Additional Lamps Required on Units 80 Inches Wide or Wider

1. Rear Clearance Lamps (Lens Coding “P2”, “PC” or “P3”, “PC2”)

2. Rear Identification Lamps (Lens Coding “P2” or “P3”)

3. Front Clearance Lamps (Lens Coding “P2”, “PC” or “P3”, “PC2”)

2 views0 comments