Bendix Spicer Foundation brake whitepaper covers federal reduced stopping distance mandate

Paper examines mandate's impact on the industry and solutions to meet it.


As part of its continued efforts to help educate the industry about the federal reduced stopping distance mandate, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB), the North American leader in the development and manufacture of leading-edge wheel-end solutions, has released a white paper titled "The Federal Reduced Stopping Distance Mandate: Impact and Solutions."

The paper examines the evolution of the mandate, while outlining how the ruling fits within the broader context of industry braking trends. It also notes solutions that meet the requirements and explores the mandate's impact on the trucking industry.

Gary Ganaway, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake director of marketing and global customer solutions, and Aaron Schwass, BSFB vice president and general manager, researched and co-authored the study. Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake is a joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC.

In its December 2005 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) called for a 20 to 30 percent reduction in the required stopping distance for large trucks. For the sake of highway safety, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake and Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems maintained that NHTSA should rule in favor of the maximum 30 percent reduction.

NHTSA chose the maximum reduction in its final rule, released in July 2009, requiring a 30 percent reduction in stopping distance for new three-axle tractors with Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWRs) up to 59,600 lbs. and produced after the Aug. 1, 2011, implementation date. Tractors with two axles, as well as severe service tractors with GVWRs above 59,600 lbs., must comply with the new mandate by Aug. 1, 2013.

"We believe it's important for OEMs, fleets, owner-operators, and drivers to fully understand the mandate, which is reshaping the way our industry approaches braking and braking system technologies," Ganaway said. "Our goal was to provide an in-depth, but easy to understand look at the sweeping changes brought about by the mandate, with useful information that professionals throughout the industry will find helpful."

Written in five sections, the paper begins by examining industry trends in braking. The trends include stronger vehicle regulation and enforcement, including the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative; an increased focus on proper maintenance; and an increased use of air disc brakes.

A subsequent section addresses how the federal mandate evolved, what it requires, and its anticipated benefits. This is followed up with a primer on foundation brakes, from the forms they take to the physics behind them. The paper also examines advances in braking technology.

In looking at how best to meet the mandate, BSFB's white paper describes the wide variety of configurations available, including all drum brakes, all disc brakes, or a combination of both. The solution that will most often be implemented, the paper explains, will be an upgrade of steer axles to higher performing drum brakes. While the drum brake solution will allow fleets and owner-operators to meet the minimum federal requirements, the white paper emphasizes that for the greatest stopping power in all conditions, and optimized vehicle safety, the clear choice is air disc brakes.

Finally, the paper includes an analysis of the mandate's impact across the industry, from OEMs to fleets, owner-operators, and the aftermarket, as well as an examination of the value proposition of higher-performing brakes.

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