Thailand Accident Research Center


Effectiveness of Retro-Reflective Tape at Rear-End of Heavy Trucks to Increase Visibility and Reduce Rear-End Collision

Journal:  International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences (IATSS) Research, Vol. 43, No.3, pp.176-184
Authors:  Lan, T.T., Kanitpong, K., Tomiyama, K., Kawamura, A., and Nakatsuji, T.
Year:  2019

The purpose of this study is to compare the visibility of various colors and patterns of retroreflective tapes and evaluate the effect of human and environmental factors on the detection of distance, perception-reaction time, and heart rate while driving behind heavy trucks with different patterns of retroreflective tapes. The Kitami Institute of Technology Driving Simulator (KITDS) was used for the experiment throughout this study. BACS Advance (TAOS Institute) is another piece of equipment used to measure heart rate and used to determine the driver’s level of stress. Five patterns of retroreflective tape designs were evaluated and compared. The results of the study clearly show that the most visible retroreflective tap pattern is the fully outlined alternating red and yellow retroreflective tape following Regulation No.48 from UNECE, in comparison to the other patterns tested. Gender, driver age, the speed of the following vehicles, tape width, tape pattern, lighting conditions, and weather conditions significantly affect the detection distance. Driver age significantly affects the perception-reaction time. The perception-reaction time is significantly longer for drivers behind trucks with no retroreflective tape at the rear-end. Therefore, the selection of the most effective color and pattern of retroreflective tape is very important in order to increase the visibility of heavy trucks and reduce the chances of rear-end truck collisions, particularly at nighttime or in conditions with limited visibility. This study strongly recommends that countries which have not implemented regulations concerning the placement of retroreflective tape on the rear of large trucks, or have implemented the regulation but not in accordance with UNECE Regulation No.48, should consider revising their regulation to improve the visibility of large trucks.