Thread: Trailer Lighting

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Default Trailer Lighting

    Howdy Folks:

    With regard to what is generally required (and I know that it may vary from state to state) legal-wise for trailer lighting? Aside from the obvious tail lights, brake and directional
    functions, is there anything else required? My trailer has 2 lights on both sides of it - red it the rear part and a white one up front. They are circled red in this pic:

    101_4364.jpg

    My question is can I remove these? I guess they look nice and give you a sense of the trailer edges when its dark. Now I want to mount a couple of the shorty 11lb propane
    tanks on the back portion of the fenders where the rear-red light is and I have to relocate a fuel can holder from one side of the trailer to the other and the left-front-white
    one is also in the way. I suppose I could relocate the lights without too much hassle but was just wondering what is legally required. I did a few quick searches online at the
    NJ DMV site but could not find an answer regarding this specific question. Thanks for any help you can provide.
    Proud member of the Appalachian Ridgerunner Supreme Expedition Squad.
    Jeep Liberty KJ + Outlander Sherpa II Trailer

  2. #2
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    To my knowledge none are required for such a small trailer. Marker lights are there so it is more likely to be seen from the side in traffic. The white one in fronts appears to be there for convenience for the step. Even if it were required in some states there is a slim to none change a policeman is going to care.
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  3. #3
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    There are regulations for all trailers used on road in North America. The Canadian and US regulations for lighting and reflectors are identical but have different codes. Here is a great summary of requirements and a poster for light location.

    In the US you must follow Federal DOT codes, individual States can have additional requirements but the minimum is what the DOT requires. Even though a State may not check your lights and reflectors for compliance when you register the trailer, it doesn't mean you wont get a ticket for not being on compliance if you are pulled over.

    All the lights and reflectors have to be DOT approved, they will have the letters DOT on the lens. Lights approved only for South Africa (SABS), Australia (ADR), or Europe (EU) are not certified for use in North America.

    For smaller trailers you need a license plate light, Stop turn tail lights, side clearance lights (amber and red), and reflectors. You need rear red reflectors (sometimes built into the rear lights), rear side red reflectors, front side amber reflectors.

    Best practices would have you move your front amber side clearance light to a position on the outside of the protection bar. If you are looking for a light that recesses into the protection bar we have 3/4" side marker LED's that can be used.

  4. #4
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    Great post Martyn!

  5. #5
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    Thanks TM and Martyn:

    Great info - esp from Martyn!

    Regards, Ed
    Proud member of the Appalachian Ridgerunner Supreme Expedition Squad.
    Jeep Liberty KJ + Outlander Sherpa II Trailer

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martyn View Post
    All the lights and reflectors have to be DOT approved, they will have the letters DOT on the lens. Lights approved only for South Africa (SABS), Australia (ADR), or Europe (EU) are not certified for use in North America.
    Its true for the letter of the law,
    But so long as you have good quality lighting thats properly working and positioned, The chance of being cited are VERY slim.
    Sometimes the greymarket import owners have worried about the Nick with their UNIMOG, Pinz, etc. I have been on the road greymarket for years and never heard of others being cited either.

    Were you a manufacturer as a business, I expect one may see scrutiny, But as a one-off garage built, I say just build something nice and dont worry.
    Its a real shame, as there is alot of LED stuff from Hella and others thats very effective and stylish, But under definition of law would not be permitted on N.America roads.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martyn View Post
    There are regulations for all trailers used on road in North America. The Canadian and US regulations for lighting and reflectors are identical but have different codes. Here is a great summary of requirements and a poster for light location.
    This link is excellent...thanks!
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  8. #8
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    Allright, considering replacing all the lights n wiring. where do I start? the current configuration has 2 turn/brake/running lights as well as a red and a amber side marker lights
    Proud member of the Appalachian Ridgerunner Supreme Expedition Squad.
    Jeep Liberty KJ + Outlander Sherpa II Trailer

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