Federal Update
NHTSA reduces truck stopping distances 30 percent

By Reed Black
Staff writer


The government issued a new braking standard for heavy trucks in late July, which is designed to improve stopping distance by 30 percent.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that beginning in 2011, heavy trucks going 60 mph must be able to come to a complete stop in 250 feet. The current standard is 355 feet.

Rick Craig, OOIDA director of regulatory affairs, said while the Association is supportive of making the road safer, there is one concern.

“Generally we’re supportive of reducing stopping distances,” Craig told Land Line Now. “Obviously it’s going to have an impact on reducing crashes and so forth, but the question always remains: How much is it ultimately going to end up costing?”

Craig also discussed the technology required for the new braking standard.

“Although the manufacturers are saying they can achieve this 30 percent reduction by going to larger brake drums, others say that they could require disc brakes. And it’s probably going to require much better steering-axle brakes to achieve these reductions,” Craig said.

NHTSA thinks the new braking-distance rule will save 227 lives each year, according to a news release. LL