Placement of Emergency Warning Devices

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) require Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers to immediately activate their vehicle’s hazard warning signal flashers any time an emergency requires them to stop on any part of the road or adjacent shoulder. Flashers must be left on until the emergency warning devices are placed according to regulations specified below.

Emergency warning devices must be placed within 10 minutes of stopping. When exiting the vehicle to place the devices, drivers should be wearing high visibility clothing and carry the devices facing oncoming traffic to increase their visibility to motorists. Reflective triangles, lighted lamps and lighted flares are examples of acceptable warning devices. Place three warning devices in the following manner:

  1. On the traffic side of the vehicle, 10 feet or four paces behind, in the direction of approaching traffic.
  2. In the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the CMV, 100 feet or 40 paces behind, in the direction of approaching traffic.
  3. In the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the CMV, 100 feet or 40 paces in front, in the direction of oncoming traffic.

If a hill, curve or any other obstruction prevents drivers from seeing the vehicle, a warning device should be placed at a distance of 100 to 500 feet to give plenty of notice to approaching motorists.

*Blog courtesy of National Waste and Recycling Association.  For more information visit https://wasterecycling.org/

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