Truck Lettering and Compliances Required in New York City

Trucks and other commercial vehicles in NYC are known for their big, bold lettering. Whether it’s the company’s logo or information about who owns the vehicle and where it is from, all commercial vehicles are characterized by lettering in the city. While some of it is mandated by law, vehicle lettering can also be used for advertising or decorative purposes. Commercial vehicles enjoy a host of parking benefits including being able to use designated commercial vehicle parking spots that make loading, unloading and picking-up more convenient and as such should be easily identifiable as commercial vehicles from a distance.

Regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), the rules for commercial vehicles can be found on the DOT website and are called ‘The New York City Traffic Rules’. Since the Big Apple is such an expensive city for marketeers, truck lettering in New York offers a cost-effective and impactful means of advertising your business, according to Manhattan-based design firm New York Sign Group.

Different Types of Truck Lettering

Advertising on the side of the vehicle is a cheap yet effective advertising choice for any company that uses commercial vehicles for its operations. These include but are not limited to cargo carriers, and other delivery services. The type of graphics for advertisement purposes can include logos and images. Vinyl lettering advertisements are cut out individually from solid colored vinyl that is then pre-spaced and placed onto masking transfer tape making the lettering self-adhesive and therefore easily usable on your car, van or truck. Magnetic car signs are another form of removable and reusable advertising solution for NYC vehicles. 

Commercial vehicles also require a DOT Number when transporting passengers or hauling cargo in interstate commerce or hazardous materials requiring safety permits in intrastate carriage. Overall, vehicle lettering can be as simple as magnetic car signs to vinyl lettering for advertising and compliance in NYC. The basic idea is to ensure legibility and visibility.

Requirements around Truck Lettering in NYC

New York City Traffic Rules require that commercial vehicles prominently display the ownership information in 3-inch high permanent lettering. The rules further stipulate that this information must be on both sides of the vehicle, so it can be door lettering or vehicle lettering on the sides. Vehicle lettering as per NYC rules should be prominently visible and should be in a color that stands out from the base paint on the vehicle i.e. it should not be in a color that matches the vehicle paint.

In addition to the lettering requirements of NYC Traffic Rules, commercial vehicles are also subject to regulations by other authorities on other types of lettering to be displayed on the vehicle. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates that all motor carriers must display the USDOT number, the legal name of the business that owns the vehicle and the main business address. These USDOT numbers can easily be printed as vinyl combo decals so that you don’t have to manually line up each number and letter as you put it on the transportation vehicle.




Photo of author


Say one thing about Noman, say he loves cars. Say two things about Noman, say that he likes to speak in the 3rd person.

Leave a Comment