Starting your towing business? Did you know that there are several things you need to be fitted in your towing truck to legally use them?
Of course, you need high-quality towing accessories but you should also not forget about the tow truck light requirements. Tow truck lights are regulated by federal and state regulations. It must be properly lit before you can provide the service or else the police will give you a ticket.
Tow Truck Lighting: The Federal Regulations
There are two organizations that regulate the lighting of vehicles. They are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the FMCSA.
Those that have new tow trucks are governed by the rules provided by the NHTSA. On the other hand, those that are already in service should follow the FMCSA requirements.
Nevertheless, the regulations are quite similar. As for the basics, your towing truck should have the following:
- Headlights, brake lights, and taillights
- Turn signals, both the front and rear
- Backup lights that light up when the vehicle is going in reverse
- Side lights, both front and rear
- Clearance lights, both front and rear
- Reflectors at the vehicle corners.
However, you don’t have to purchase all of these separately. Some of them are dual purposes. For example, headlights and taillights already have reflective covers so they may also act as reflectors.
For those who have oversized rigs, additional lighting requirements apply. There should be side marker lights and reflectors found towards the midpoint if the trucks have a length that’s greater than 30 feet.
Similarly, trucks with a width that’s greater than 80 inches should also have a light indicator. The three lights on the top of the truck will signify that they are wider than other vehicles.
Tow Truck Lighting: State Regulation
Aside from complying with the federal regulations, the towing trucks must also comply with the state regulations. This will vary as different states have their own lighting standards. Among the categories that are regulated are as follows:
Most states use different colors for different types of vehicles. This makes it easier to identify police cars from ambulances or tow trucks. In the state of Florida, amber is the color designated for tow trucks.
Brightness is also regulated. It should be visible enough. There is also a required minimum candlepower or brightness for your towing rig lights. Make sure to check what they are and follow as instructed.
Flash pattern requirements could be strobe, rotating or steady-burning. Here in Florida, rotating or flashing lights are required.
It is much safer if the rear lighting is clearly visible to other motorists. That is why most will require rear lights that could be affixed to the vehicle being towed.