Collisions between heavy trucks and trailers and smaller, lighter vehicles often result in death or severe injury to the occupants of the smaller vehicle. In many cases, these accidents are the result of the heavy vehicle not being seen by the approaching motorist in time for the accident to be avoided, particularly in poor weather conditions, or hours of darkness. Poor Heavy Vehicle Visibility costs lives.

This Heavy Vehicle Visibility Code of Practice specifies the use of retro-reflective strip or contour markings to delineate the length and size of the vehicle, as well as recommending how the use of reflective graphics and corporate logos can complement safety. The requirements for this Code of Practice are based on European Regulation UN/ECE 104 – “Uniform Provisions Concerning The Approval of Retro-Reflective Markings for Heavy and Long Vehicles and their Trailers” which define the performance, placement and material specification of the markings.

This Heavy Vehicle Visibility Code of Practice is to be used in addition to (and is not intended to replace) existing regulations and ADR lighting and marking requirements.

Extensive research in both Europe and the United States of America has shown a dramatic reduction in the frequency and intensity of such vehicle accidents with the use of retro-reflective strips and other markings that outline the contour of the vehicle. A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the USA dated March 2001, reported a reduction in side and rear impacts into marked trailers ranging between 29% and 41% in dark conditions. Furthermore, the report stated a reduction in fatality and injury accidents of 44% in dark conditions.

In an effort to reduce these types of accidents in Australia, the Australian Trucking Association, together with industry representatives, have developed this Heavy Vehicle Visibility Code of Practice, describing the methods by which increased vehicle visibility can be achieved.