The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established a final rule offering pass/fail criteria for use with performance-based brake testers. This will allow inspectors to check brakes quickly and more efficiently. PBBTs assess vehicle-braking capability by measuring brake forces at each wheel, or by measuring overall vehicle brake performance during a controlled test.
Certified roller dynamometers, breakaway torque testers, and flat-plate testers can be used to measure brake compliance and help determine whether brakes meet regulations. The rule does not replace existing brake performance requirements, but provides an alternative testing method to the little used 20-mph stopping-distance test.
PBBT makers will self-certify that their testers meet specifications and list any they don't meet. The new rule is effective Feb. 5, 2003 and applies to all commercial vehicles over 10,000 lb.