The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today published in the Federal Register [RIN 2127-AJ37] a notice of proposed rulemaking to improve air brake standards to reduce the stopping distance of truck tractors by 20 to 30%. The agency has tentatively concluded that trucks tractors can achieve this with existing brake technologies.

OEMs and brake engineers told FleetOwner last winter that the new rule—once it arrives—will be handily met. They said by then fleets will be able to spec tractors either with what’s generally referred to as an “enhanced” or “wide” drum brakes or with versions of today’s latest-generation disc brakes—or with the combination of discs up front, drums at the rear. What’s more they said both drum and disc brakes will benefit from new friction materials being developed that will help improve braking performance and also deliver longer life.

See Stopping Power.

A spokesperson for the American Trucking Assns. told FleetOwner that the proposed rule is consistent with industry expectations, and could be accommodated with existing technology. ATA anticipates there will be some development cost associated with the technology, but expects the overall financial impact to the trucking industry will be minimal.