ArvinMeritor's Commercial Vehicle Systems business unit stated today that it supports the intent of the recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on tractor stopping distance issued by the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), but pointed out the agency has yet to declare exactly what that distance will be.
"ArvinMeritor supports the intent of this NPRM to implement vehicle braking system improvements that will reduce stopping distances by 20 to 30%," said Paul Johnston, senior director, North American Foundation Brake Business. "We will aggressively respond to the NPRM, as well as support industry-wide efforts to meet these new requirements."
During a teleconference this morning with industry media, Johnston told FleetOwner that ArvinMeritor had expected the NPRM would state “a number— a stake in the ground— rather than a 20 to 30%” range for the reduction. “Because of that, this notice reads more like an advance notice. But we do expect a revision of the notice after the comment period closes [April 14].”
According to Johnston, ArvinMeritor also agrees with the finding that “truck-tractor vehicles represent the largest opportunity to reduce stopping distances with specific focus on increasing the level of braking on the front steer axle.”
As a result, he expects to see changes in the front-axle steering and suspension as well as antilock braking systems. He said these changes would enable the industry to implement either drum or disc brake solutions to meet the more aggressive stopping distance reductions (of up to 30%) called for in the NPRM.
Johnston also said that a more aggressive reduction in truck-tractor stopping distances could result in more attention being paid to trailer brake requirements. "We must keep an eye on the resulting compatibility with existing fleet equipment," he added.