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Rules of the Road: Guide to Emergency Equipment
Foley
4 mins read

In response to some common questions that we get here at Foley Services, I’ve put together a guide to the emergency equipment that you are required to have in (and on) your truck.

Fire Extinguishers

The regulations are very strict about what sort of fire extinguishers you must carry. If you are transporting hazardous materials you must have a Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) rating of 10 B:C or more. In a standard truck, you must have an extinguisher with a UL rating of 5 B:C or more or two with a UL rating of 4 B:C or more. Your extinguisher must be labeled with its UL rating. Furthermore, the extinguisher must have some method of telling if it is charged. The extinguisher must be readily accessible and securely mounted to prevent it moving in transit. Finally, the extinguishing agent must not need protection from freezing.

Hazard Warning Signals

For most trucks these are a standard feature and something that you will never need to worry about. However if you are doing repair work on your truck’s electrical systems or installing extra lights, you should keep in mind that the Hazard Warning Lights must operate independently of the ignition and be operable even when the truck’s engine is not running. Both your front and rear turn signals must flash simultaneously. This includes the lights at the rear of your trailer. Be sure to check your hazards often to ensure they are working properly.

Emergency Braking

The regulations are clear—it is your responsibility to make sure you can stop when you need to. The following systems are required where applicable:
1) When towing a trailer equipped with brakes, the towing vehicle must be equipped to stop itself in the case of breakaway.
2) When towing a trailer equipped with brakes, the trailer must be equipped to automatically brake itself in the case of breakaway.
3) All trucks using air-brakes must have two systems, one automatic and one manual to activate the emergency features of the trailer’s brakes.
4) All trucks using air-brakes must have emergency valves to prevent the bleeding of air back to the towing vehicle upon reduction of air-pressure in the towing vehicle.
5) All trucks using vacuum-brakes must have a manual, independent system to activate all braking systems on the tractor-trailer rig.

Spare Fuses

It seems simple, but it is an easy item to forget. You are required to carry a spare fuse for each size/type of fuse needed for every part and accessory in your tractor-trailer rig.

Rear Impact Guards

Most trailers (see your regulations book for exceptions) are required to have a rear impact guard to protect the trailer from damage, and to stop a car from being forced under the trailer during a collision. The guard must be no less than four inches narrower than the width of the trailer and no wider. The bottom edge cannot be more than 22 inches from the ground. The guard must be labeled with the manufacturer’s name and address, the label “Manufactured in _____”—with the month and year of manufacture—and the letters “DOT.” This label must be on the forward-facing surface of the horizontal  member of the guard, 12 inches inboard of the right end of the guard. This is so inspectors can determine if the guard is in order during inspections, which may occur during or immediately after a roadside incident, so be sure to carefully follow all regulations.

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