FHWA clears trailer aero device

In a move that could boost fleet acceptance, the Federal Highway Administration has concluded that an aerodynamic device installed on the backs of trailers should not be included in the calculation of length limitations.

In an Oct. 10 letter, Anthony Furst, director of FHWA’s Office of Freight Management and Operations, said that based on testing by an independent laboratory, ATDynamics’ “Trailer Tail” aerodynamic device should be excluded from the measured length of a commercial motor vehicle because the device:

  • Cannot carry cargo;
  • Does not extend beyond 5 feet of the rear of the vehicle;
  • Does not obscure tail lamps, turn signals, marker lamps, identification lamps or safety devices such as hazmat placards or conspicuity markings; and
  • Does not have the strength, rigidity or mass to damage a vehicle or injure a passenger in a vehicle striking from the rear.
  • Furst said FHWA had shared the test results with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA had identified a conspicuity marking issue that was shared with ATDynamics, and the company has taken care of the issue as recommended.

    FHWA has posted the letter on its Commercial Motor Vehicle Size and Weight website for reference and plans to provide it to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials for dissemination to roadside enforcement officials. Furst also said FHWA would provide the letter to the Environmental Protection Agency to inform its SmartWay Program.