NASHVILLE -- Truck-Lite says its new Light-Out Detection System alerts drivers of one or more trailer lights that are dark, improving safety and reducing chances of citations and forced downtime. The system replaces the nose box and distributes power among lighting circuits, and signals a light-out condition by illuminating a warning lamp on the trailer’s nose.

Drivers can use the system during a pre-trip inspection by switching it into a test mode, which cycles all lights through a specified sequence, explained Brad Van Riper, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Truck-Lite, during an announcement at the ATA's Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting Sunday. However, drivers should still look at each light to be sure each is physically sound as well as working, he noted.

If a light fails while a vehicle is moving down the road, a blue lamp on the trailer’s left-front corner illuminates so the driver can see it in the side-view mirror. He or she can then stop to find which light is out by observing a numerical flash-code the blue lamp is displaying. Instructions on the box identify the codes.

The driver than can seek repairs or instructions from company headquarters, hopefully before an inspector spots the defect. Lighting problems account for one-quarter of all defects that resulted in CSA penalties, Van Riper said.

The product works on trailers with LED lamps, not incandescent lights, he said. 

The Light-Out Detection System will go into production in April. At first it will be a retrofitted product, and builders are expected to offer it on new trailers later.

Photo: Demonstration rig shows how failed tail/stop/signal light is detected by the Light-Out system, which illuminates a blue warning lamp visible by a driver. 

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