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DOT Prepares Braking Rule
Monday, 06 July 2009 00:00

The Department of Transportation is preparing to issue its long-delayed stopping-distance rule that would slice the stopping distance for large trucks by as much as 30%.

DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on June 10 sent its proposed rule to the White House for review by the office of Management and Budget, setting the stage for publication later this year and likely implementation in 2011.

NHTSA issued its proposed rule in December 2005 after several years of study, but publication was postponed several times during the Bush administration.

The rule, which has been in the works for several years, is expected to require Class 8 trucks traveling 60 mph to stop within 249 to 284 feet. Trucks now are required to stop within 355 feet.

NHTSA said the stopping distance could be met using enlarged versions of the S-cam drum brakes now prevalent in the industry.

Jim Tipka, vice president of engineering for American Trucking Associations, said that, in some
applications, air disc brakes may be necessary, “particularly in short-wheelbase situations where tractor stability with a heavy brake imbalance could be put in question.”

Paul Johnston, senior director of compression and braking products at Meritor Wabco, said many trucks that now come with steer-axle brake drums 15 or 15.5 inches in diameter and 4 or 5 inches wide would have to use 16.5-by-5-inch drums.

On the rear, brakes may have to be wider, he said.

The larger drum brakes would add about 90 pounds to a truck’s weight and cost $1,000 to $1,500 more per axle.

The proposed rule would not require air disc brakes, which would cost more than larger drum brakes.

Light & Medium Truck, 7/6/2009