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Trailer Lighting Regulations

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Making sure you have the proper lights for your trailer or other towed apparatus is legally required in The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989. Below, we provide the steps to ensure that your trailer light board complies with the minimum legal standards.

The law requires that trailers be equipped with the following: two sidelights in red, two stoplamps with the number plates are illuminated as well as two triangular red reflectors as well as amber-colored indicators that flash between 60 to 120 times per minute.

If they are greater than 1.3 metres in width They must also be equipped with at minimum one red fog lamp. Any trailer built on or after September 30, 1990 must have front reflectors. If they are larger than 1.6 meters wide front lights.

Requirements (as stipulated as required by NTTA):

If, in the instance of directions indicators, it’s not feasible to meet the height requirements, the dimension could be raised to 2300mm.

If, in the instance of back lamp’s position (tail) lamps as well as stop lamps, it’s not feasible to meet the height requirements, the dimension could be increased to 2100mm.

For trailers built from 1 October 1985 onwards it is possible to increase the size of red triangular reflectors is raised to 1200mm if required.

Trailers built after October 1, 1985 must have number plates which are illuminated with an “E” or an” marked lamp. If a clear glass inside the lamp’s rear is approved it can be used in place of the number plate lamp. However, it must conform to manufacturer’s instructions regarding how far away from the number plate.

A front fog lamp is required for trailers that are more than 1.3 meters wide. Two lamps are preferable, but when only one lamp is used, it has to be on the opposite side or in the middle that runs through the middle of the vehicle. There is no maximum distance from the outside edges of the vehicle is specified for fog lamp(s) however, there must be at least 100mm away from the stop lamp.

Direction indicator distance from one rear of the trailer should not be greater than what is actually the distance between the lamp and the trailer by 50mm.

Trailers made after October 1, 1985, which are greater than 1600mm in width, (not boat trailers; these are the only exceptions) require front-position lights (clear lenses).

Certain trailers need side-mounted lights that display white in from the front, and red at the back. Furthermore, trailers of certain lengths need side reflectors in amber.

*Disclaimer: The information provided in the guide was intended to be guideline. It is as up-to-date as of the date that it came out as accurate as we could to ensure it. This is up to every person who is relying on the information contained herein to verify the accuracy of their the original documents or any updated laws, instruments or modifications in law.

What exactly is Regulation 48?

Regulation 48 rev. 3 (Reg. 48-03)

This is the rule to install illumination and signifying. Revision 3 stipulates that retroreflective markings conforming to EC104 are now required for all forthcoming EU Type approvals of trucks 7.5T and above (O3 as well as O4). This means that all vehicles that is sold to countries that automatically adopt 48-03 will require ECE approved markings.


European regulation on retroreflective markings on HGVs. Markings that comply to Regulation 48.
Directive 76/756/ECC

This directive creates EU type approvals compulsory and implies the that every EU countries have to adopt the 48-03 directive.

ECWVTA 70/156

It is the European Total Vehicle Type Approval is a way for any OEM to receive a full Type Approval for the vehicle in order to be used within the EU. Any vehicle that is approved by an EU country that is granted EU Type Approval is able to be sold anywhere within the EU without needing an further National Type Approval.