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Conspicuity Tape

Conspicuity tape is used as retroreflective contour marking on motor vehicles and trailers or semi-trailers. They aim is to make large and heavy vehicles more visible and thus reduce the accidents by making road users more aware of dimensions, low speeds and distances of trucks.

Since July 2011, Contour marking is mandatory for newly registered motor vehicles with a max. weight exceeding 7.5 tonnes as well as trailers exceeding a max. weight of 3.5 tonnes. The rear of the vehicle needs to be marked if the vehicle is wider than 2.1 m and the sides need to be marked if the vehicle is longer than 6 m.

UN Regulation ECE 104 defines the requirements of reflective materials for line and contour markings on trucks and trailers. Approved conspicuity tapes have a width of 50 - 60 mm, correspond to material class C (highest reflectivity, RA3) and show the approval mark on the strip in intervals of 50 cm

Which Colours are used for Contour Marking?

Please note that colour combinations may differ from country to country and that the respective legislation applies. In Germany, the tapes are commonly used as follows:

In our shop you will find conspicuity tapes for different vehicle types and applications from Orafol® and 3M™:

Application and Positioning of Conspicuity Tape

The positioning of contour markings pursuant to ECE 104 is defined in ECE 48 sec. 6.21. Wherever possible, the reflective tapes should be positioned in a way that the entire shape of a vehicle is outlined and visible from the sides and the rear. Minimum requirements are a full contour marking on the rear of the vehicle and partial contour marking on the sides consisting of a horizontal line on the lower part of the body indicating the length of the vehicle and two tick marks of min. 250 mm in length showing the upper corners of the vehicle. A line marking is acceptable if due to the structure of the vehicle, the mandatory marking cannot be applied.

The marking should be positioned as close as possible to the edge of the vehicle but equate to at least 80 % of the width and length (excluding cab or drawbar) of the vehicle. Rear markings should be applied with a min. distance of 200 mm to the stop lamps.

The lower marking should be positioned as low as practicable within a range of 250 mm and 1500 mm above the ground. Upper contour markings should be positioned as high as practicable but within 400 mm of the upper extremity of the vehicle.

Whereas tapes for rigid-sided vehicles come in a continuous line, tapes for curtain-sided vehicles or tankers are segmented to stick better to the uneven surfaces.

Conspicuity tapes can be used by company to promote themselves. The tape can be individually printed with company logos as long as it does not compromise the performance of the tape.

Which vehicles require contour marking?

Conspicuity tape is mandatory for trucks with a max. weight over 7.5 tonnes and trailers with a max. weight over 3.5 tonnes. Tractor units, haulers and driver cabs are excluded from the regulation but can use contour marking.

Campervans are only allowed to use conspicuity tape if they are not classified as passenger vehicles in category M1. Caravans can be marked if they exceed a max. weight of 0.75 tonnes.

Emergency vehicles equipped with blue lights may be provided with contour marking, but this is not mandatory.

Overview of the use of conspicuity tape by vehicle category

PDF | (PDF) Open in a new Window

Examples for the application of conspicuity tapes on different vehicle types

Tanker-GradeFigure 1 Tanker with side line marking and segmented rear marking
Curtain GradeFigure 2 Partial side marking with line marking and corner markings as well as rear marking
Custom-CTFigure 3 Full side marking and rear marking
Rigid GradeFigure 4 Partial side marking with line marking  |   Figure 5 Partial side marking with line marking and corner markings

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