A final rule that will improve safety for all road users by ensuring that pavement markings are made more visible in dark or low light conditions, has been announced by the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Under the final rule, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) will provide a new minimum standard for pavement marking “retroreflectivity” effective from September 6, 2022.

Retroreflective material reflects light more effectively back to the observer, making pavement markings that include them brighter and more easily seen in dark conditions. The rule is also expected to help reduce crashes by enhancing the ability of advanced driver assistance and autonomous vehicle technologies to identify pavement markings more readily.

“FHWA’s number one goal is to reduce highway fatalities and serious injuries wherever and whenever they occur,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator, Stephanie Pollack said.

“This rule will save lives by helping those traveling see pavement markings more clearly and know what lies ahead, especially in darkness and other instances when visibility is critical.”

The MUTCD, the national standard for traffic control devices used on all streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public travel, currently requires that pavement markings be visible at night and that all markings on interstate highways be retroreflective but does not require a minimum level. By creating one, FHWA believes state and local transportation agencies can reduce the number of severe crashes that happen in dark, unlighted conditions.