Trucking News Online

Bendix Reviews Federal Stopping Distance Mandate

August 19, 2013 By: Trucking News Staff Tags: News, Safety, Technology

Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, which develops and manufactures wheel-end solutions for North American commercial vehicles, has updated its white paper entitled, “The Federal Reduced Stopping Distance Mandate: Impact and Solutions.”

BSFB’s paper, initially published in a year ago, examines the mandate’s impact on the trucking industry and approaches to meet it.

Phase One of the Reduced Stopping Distance (RSD) mandate took effect in August 2011 for new three-axle tractors with Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWRs) up to 59,600 pounds. Phase Two of the mandate, aimed at tractors with two axles as well as severe service tractors with GVWRs above 59,600 pounds, took effect this month.

The updated 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, including the aftermarket. The revised paper discusses solutions for Phase Two of the final rule, as well as a new section examining why replacing high-performance friction with like friction is essential to maintaining performance of RSD brakes, compliance with both phases of the RSD mandate, and safety.

Gary Ganaway, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake director of marketing and global customer solutions, and Aaron Schwass, BSFB vice president and general manager, researched and coauthored 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 supported a 30 percent reduction.

NHTSA chose the maximum reduction – 30 percent – in its final rule, released in July 2009. Designed to be implemented in two phases, the rule affects nearly all of the roughly 300,000 tractors manufactured annually. It applies to truck tractors manufactured on or after the implementation dates of Aug. 1, 2011, and Aug. 1, 2013, depending on vehicle type.

“The mandate has brought about a fundamental reshaping of the way our industry approaches braking and braking system technologies, and our goal with the white paper is to help all stakeholders fully understand the changes affecting them,” Ganaway said. “We received good response to the original paper from OEMs, fleets, owner-operators, and drivers, who found it in-depth but easy to understand. We believe that professionals throughout the industry will find the updated paper – with its additional information – just as useful as they continue to strive for increased highway safety, lower total ownership costs, and improved vehicle performance.”

The white paper describes the wide variety of configurations available to meet the mandate. Options include all drum brakes, all disc brakes, or a combination of both. The solution most often implemented, the paper explains, is an upgrade of steer axles to higher-performing drum brakes. While the drum brake solution allows 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. The paper points out that, in general, solutions for RSD Phase Two emphasize a further increase in air disc brake usage, as well as drum brakes designed with additional technologies.

BSFB’s study also 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.

A new section in the updated paper looks at the importance of choosing OEM replacement parts, with the choice of proper replacement brake linings for high-performance brakes being especially critical. Many fleets and drivers remain unaware that choosing anything less than like high-performance replacement friction can negate the technological advancements of the brakes – and potentially compromise safety. As the paper describes, significant, widespread confusion about friction replacement exists in part because of the FMVSS 121 dynamometer test procedure, which is no longer the only requirement in the new RSD environment.

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