Groendyke Transport Wins Brake-Activated Rear Light Rule Exemption


On Friday, April 26, 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)granted an exemption request from Groendyke Transport, Inc. Groendyke had applied for an exemption allowing the company to install amber brake-activated pulsating lights on the back of their 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.
Groendyke demonstrated that installing these lamps on 632 of their trucks reduced their rear-end collisions by 33.7% and eliminated all highway-rail grade crossing rear-end crashes in a 30-month period. The exemption is effective immediately and lasts until April 26, 2024. NTTC’s submitted official commentssupporting 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.” 
NTTC’s comments asked that FMCSA grant the exemption to all motor carriers that use tank trailers, rather than just Groendyke, because “there is no factor unique to Groendyke’s trailers or pulsating brake lamps that cannot be replicated by other motor carriers.” Unfortunately, FMCSA did not extend the exemption to all similarly-situated motor carriers, despite noting that “large trucks are consistently three times more likely than other vehicles to be struck in the rear in two-vehicle fatal crashes.” NTTC celebrates Groendyke’s victory. But, our twin safety and industry-support missions compel us to officially petition that FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration update the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and allow all motor carriers to achieve similar safety gains.