Guide To: ECE Regulation 104

05 July 2018

While this regulation applies to the technical requirements of vehicle conspicuity tapes, also known as contour tapes, and their performance – it does not mandate their use, and how to use them.

All marking tapes must be approved under this regulation but their use is covered by ECE Regulation 48 and the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations 1989 (referred to in this guide later as RLVR), as amended, which was brought into line with ECE R48 in 2010. ECE Regulation 48 also covers the construction of large commercial vehicles including all types of lighting as well as other items, but this has been omitted from this guide.

Mandatory conspicuity marking legislation detailed in the RLVR apply to the following classes of vehicles;

  • Goods vehicles exceeding 7,500kg (gross vehicle weight) first used on or after 10 July 2011
  • Trailers exceeding 3,500kg (gross vehicle weight) manufactured on or after 10 July 2011

There are a number of exemptions to these regulations including;

  • Vehicles not used as goods vehicles but of a similar construction (e.g. fire appliances)
  • Goods vehicles not exceeding 7,500kg (gross vehicle weight)
  • Trailers not exceeding 3,500kg (gross vehicle weight)
  • An incomplete vehicle which is proceeding for completion, or to a place to be stored or displayed for sale
  • Tractor units

Vehicles and trailers which do not exceed 2.1m wide do not require rear markings, and vehicles and trailers which do not exceed 6m in length do not require side markings. You can use amber or red markings to the rear of a vehicle or trailer, and either amber or white to the side. You cannot use red on the side, or white to the rear.

To identify your material as being ECE Regulation 104 approved, the material will have the following type of marking throughout the material at regular intervals:


ECE Regulation 104


Conspicuity marking regulations requires a full contour marking on the vehicle’s rear, for example – horizontal and vertical to outline the shape of the vehicle and partial markings on the side. Partial contour markings consist of a horizontal line to indicate the length of the vehicle (to a minimum of 80%) and ‘tick’ marks showing the upper corners of the vehicle.

Like all legislation, the design of a vehicle has to account for the required markings or equipment to meet the applicable requirements. Whilst that is easily achievable for most vehicles, there are types of vehicles and/or trailers which can use a ‘line marking’ method rather than the usual methods.

Vehicles such as boat/container carriers, concrete mixers, flat beds/skeletal LGVs, refuse vehicles and car transporters are generally accepted as being unable to achieve the minimum ‘standard’ requirements and fall into the ‘line marking’ methodology.

Whether a solid, or unbroken side marking – you must display conspicuity tape within 600mm of the front of the vehicle and must not position it where it may be obscured by any load.

These are some example layouts, but are not-exhaustive. For further advice and clarification on our individual application, please contact us on 01763 274185 or by email at


ECE Regulation 104: Rigid vehicle marking


Examples, where line markings may be used:


ECE Regulation 104 - line marking examples

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