Railroads must add reflective materials to locomotives, freight cars

| Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Federal Railroad Administration will require that all railroad locomotives and freight cars have reflective materials installed on their sides, according to a recent statement from the federal agency.

The requirement was contained in a final rule published by the agency in the Federal Register Jan. 3.

Truck trailers were required to be equipped with reflective conspicuity tape starting in late 2001.

The Federal Railroad Administration required the tape on trains as a safety measure for grade crossings.

“Reflectorization has become an indispensable tool for enhancing visibility and safety in virtually all modes of transportation,” FRA officials wrote in a statement.

“Nearly one-quarter of all highway-rail grade crossing collisions involve motor vehicles running into trains occupying grade crossings. The large size and dark colorization of trains in combination with poor lighting or limited visibility may contribute to motorists having difficulty detecting the train in their path.

“The reflective material will help reduce the number and severity of this type of accident by giving motorists an additional visual warning of the presence of a train.”

The agency will require reflective materials to be attached to locomotives over five years and onto freight cars over 10 years. Railroads will be required to add the materials during periodic maintenance or repair.

The rule goes into effect March 4.

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