In the early 1990s, the National Transportation Safety Board made the recommendation that airbrake component manufacturers develop, promote and install brake systems that are less sensitive to adjustment and more resistant to brake system fade.
"The best way we can contribute to the safe operation of the nation's fleets is to develop the best performing brake components and then support our customers with excellent training and warranty programs," states Chuck Kleinhagan, president of Haldex Brake Systems.
Haldex recently completed an interview with Cressler Trucking Inc., Shippensburg, Pa., to help understand why fleets choose the products they do and to reinforce Haldex's commitment to safety issues.
Cressler is a truckload carrier established in 1971, servicing the continental U.S. and parts of Canada. It was purchased by Keen Transportation in 1984, and in 1994 built a new facility on 50 acres in Shippensburg. The new site has a 22,000-sq.-ft. maintenance building, which includes 12 tractor and 3 trailer bays. Cressler does all its own maintenance at this location and employs 25 shop personnel, the majority of whom have spent over 10 years with the company.
Darryl Clugston, director of maintenance, told Haldex, "It is extremely important to Cressler to spec our vehicles with the best products and then maintain them with excellent, in-house service because the primary reason customers choose us is for our quality, on-time delivery. We couldn't keep this reputation if we couldn't keep the majority of our fleet on the road."
He added that he orders Haldex products such as ABS, automatic brake adjusters and PureAir Plus air dryers on new purchases because "the support is phenomenal and the product holds up with little or no maintenance. Haldex will train your people and will work them through a problem any time they are called."
Haldex has always believed that its automatic brake adjusters, for instance, have the best safety record in the industry. The 1992 NTSB study that precipitated the recommendation to air brake component manufacturers indicated that vehicles with Haldex automatic brake adjusters were less likely to be cited for improper adjustment. This is important because of the accidents investigated, improper adjustment was a causal factor in over 25% of them.
The experience of Cressler Trucking helps to substantiate this claim. Constance Shoemaker, director of safety and compliance for Cressler, checked the fleet's out-of-service citations for the last few years and reported: "Only one citation for brakes out of adjustment in 1999 and 2000. Our fleet runs 30-million miles a year and we are viewed by the local DOT as a very safety-conscious operation. In fact, the Pennsylvania DOT routinely uses our vehicles in their own training."
Visions for trucking safety can be pretty far-reaching. At the end of the day, fleets are putting millions of miles on the same roads that people use in their daily lives. If those trucks are built with the safest components and then maintained properly, this environment is less dangerous.
At Haldex, we understand that we are forever accountable to keep looking for better braking technology. We are filling that need with developments in electronic braking, new air treatment systems and the like. But while that is going on, the truck passing you on the road today must be safe and that's our commitment.