Impact of New Stopping Distance Regs Examined

September 10, 2013

New federal rules calling for stopping distance improvements of 30% went into effect Aug. 1 2011 and Aug. 1 2013, depending on vehicle type. Brake manufacturer Bendix has published a white paper that examines the impact new stopping distance regulations have had on the trucking industry and the aftermarket.

Originally published its white paper, entitled 'The Federal Reduced Stopping Distance Mandate: Impact and Solutions,' in 2012, but has updated it with more information dealing with the most recent changes.

It examines the evolution of the mandate, while outlining how the ruling fits within the broader context of industry braking trends. Among the changes in the paper are a discussion on solutions for phase two of the final rule, as well as a new section that examines why replacing high-performance friction with like friction is essential to maintaining performance of RSD brakes.

"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," said Gary Ganaway, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake director of marketing and global customer solutions. "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.

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 lbs. Phase two of the mandate, aimed at tractors with two axles, as well as severe service tractors with GVWRs above 59,600 lbs., took effect Aug. 1, 2013.

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, including the aftermarket. Among the changes in the updated paper are a discussion on 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% 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% reduction.

NHTSA chose the maximum reduction – 30%– 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."

Written in six sections, the updated 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 a growing use of air disc brakes.

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

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.

The 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.

"The Federal Reduced Stopping Distance Mandate: Impact and Solutions" incorporates a technical glossary, illustrations, and diagrams, along with charts and data from NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It also includes quick takeaways, such as top-of- mind considerations when spec'ing a new truck or changing out a truck.

To read a copy of the entire BSFB white paper, visit www.foundationbrakes.com.

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