NHTSA Issues New Braking Rules for Large Trucks

Aug 07, 2009
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued strict new regulations on large truck braking standards.  These new regulations aim to save lives on America’s roadways by improving the stopping distance of large trucks by 30 percent.  The program will be implemented gradually over 4 years, beginning with 2012 models.

The new rules require that tractor-trailers traveling at 60 miles per hour must now be able to come to a complete stop in 250 feet instead of the previous requirement of 355 feet.  This set of regulations only applies to truck tractors and does not affect single-unit trucks or buses.

The new braking regulations are forecast to save 227 lives annually, prevent 300 serious injuries, and reduce annual property value damage costs by more that $169 million.  The NHTSA hopes that this move will introduce America’s freight-hauling fleets to new brake technologies and accelerate the already steady decline in large commercial vehicles’ involvement in fatal traffic accidents. In 2008, 4,229 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks, down 12 percent from the 4,822 deaths recorded in 2007.

“Safety is our highest priority,” said US transportation secretary Ray LaHood. “Motorists deserve to know they are sharing the road with large trucks that are up to the safest possible standards, so they can get home alive to their families.”

Photo courtesy of C.P.Storm under the Creative Commons License.