A trade journal ad in 2014 by the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers touted the benefits to members and would-be members of the concept of how beneficial it was to trumpet the fact that the members’ trailers met a variety of safety and construction standards towards the ends of potential customers wanting a product that met these standards and that compliance with them was verified; this versus non-members’ trailers possibly being not up to par. The compliance aspect is verified by a decal affixed to such trailers.
It is put forth here that the simple, historical method of Self-Certification of compliance with standards as practiced by SMV emblem manufacturers is not sufficient to ensure that products made actually are produced to standards set forth by ASABE. The industry and ASABE need to be sold on the concept of true compliance of SMV emblems made, sold and used.
One manufacturer of emblems makes molded plastic triangles with molded reflectors that incorporates simple orange plastic center triangle sections that are not in any way, shape or form FLUORESCENT as is required by current or prior standards. Earlier versions of this manufacturer’s products made from white plastic did have a fluorescent decal affixed in the middle which likely did at least initially meet the standard at the time, at least when new. Their latest orange plastic version, marketed largely to the Amish community, still initially had molded into the backside information indicating ASABE compliance while obviously not being capable of meeting that aspect of the standard. Later versions had no compliance information on them at all. These are cheaper than normal, non-compliant triangles and are possibly sold as being “fade-resistant” as compared to conventional fluorescent triangles, but at the cost of not affording the protection to this vulnerable community that true SMV emblems afford. It seems a travesty that selling an imitation product that puts customers at greater risk than necessary is a held out to be a good trade-off for the profits that are afforded from such sales. One Amish carriage shop in Northern Indiana that was using such cheap, off-spec triangles on their new buggies was convinced by Safety Psychographics that it was better to go with higher cost compliant emblems made by a competitor before our own production commenced. The explanations of the science behind fluorescence and its need in emblems to protect their customers convinced the owner that it was worth spending about $11 dollars a unit for real triangles versus $3 for the substandard imitations.
(Custom Carriage, 14782 CR 34, Goshen, IN 46528)
Other manufacturers over the years have sold low-cost emblems that would fade in a matter of months… again, obviously not meeting ASABE fluorescence longevity aspects for the SMV emblem standard.
The solution to conditions such as these seems to us to be dispensing with the historical mode of self-certification of compliance and transitioning instead to a more typical method in various industries of independent certification of compliance and follow-up auditing. These additional costs would of course have to be borne by the would-be manufacturers… the costs passed onto the consumers… but with the benefit of accountability of manufacturers, the standardization of the quality of the emblems and the benefits to the users of the emblems and the motoring public of the emblems from them in use actually meeting the standards.
The quotes below are from a transportation industry safety product’s ads and website, explaining why safety-oriented products are a good thing.
“We believe that all safety equipment should be used. Eliminating human error as much as possible and preparing for worst case scenario, is a must.
This product won’t eliminate all accidents nor fatalities, and we can only hope that it might assist motorists in avoiding an incident.
We all share the road and unfortunately all share the risk of accidental loss.
How can you argue with safety?”
“We recognize that this product can’t eliminate all accidents or fatalities but we can try to assist motorists in avoiding an incident. If this piece (of equipment: the Incident Crisis Unit) saves one life, we’ve done the right thing.”
–Wesley McCollum, ICUBreakaway.com