Bendix Spicer publishes white paper on brakes

Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake (BSFB) has published a white paper on the federal reduced stopping distance mandate.

Titled “The Federal Reduced Stopping Distance Mandate: Impact and Solutions,” the paper examines the evolution of the mandate, while outlining how the ruling fits within the broader context of industry braking trends, the company said. It also notes solutions that meet the requirements and explores the mandate’s impact on the trucking industry.

Gary Ganaway, director of marketing and global customer solutions, and Aaron Schwass, BSFB vice president and general manager, researched and co-authored the study.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration set a 30% reduction in stopping distance for new three-axle tractors with gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs) up to 59,600 lbs. and produced after the Aug. 1, 2011, implementation date. Tractors with two axles, as well as severe service tractors with GVWRs above 59,600 lbs., must comply with the new mandate by Aug. 1, 2013.

“We believe it’s important for OEMs, fleets, owner-operators, and drivers to fully understand the mandate, which is reshaping the way our industry approaches braking and braking system technologies,” Ganaway said. “Our goal was to provide an in-depth, but easy to understand look at the sweeping changes brought about by the mandate, with useful information that professionals throughout the industry will find helpful.”

Written in five sections, the paper begins by examining industry trends in braking. These trends include stronger vehicle regulation and enforcement, including CSA; an increased focus on proper maintenance; and an increased use of air disc brakes.

A subsequent section addresses how the federal mandate evolved, what it requires, and its anticipated benefits. This is followed up with a primer on foundation brakes, from the forms they take to the physics behind them. The paper also examines advances in braking technology.

The paper takes a look at the available options for meeting the standards, including the wide variety of configurations available such as drum brakes, disc brakes, or a combination of both. The solution that will most often be implemented, the paper explains, will be an upgrade of steer axles to higher performing drum brakes. While the drum brake solution will allow fleets and owner-operators to meet the minimum federal requirements, the white paper emphasizes that for the greatest stopping power in all conditions, and optimized vehicle safety, the clear choice is air disc brakes.

Finally, the paper includes an analysis of the mandate’s impact across the industry, from OEMs to fleets, owner-operators, and the aftermarket, as well as an examination of the value proposition of higher-performing brakes.

“The Federal Reduced Stopping Distance Mandate: Impact and Solutions” incorporates a technical glossary, illustrations, and diagrams along with charts and data from NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It also includes quick takeaways, such as top-of-mind considerations when spec’ing a new truck or changing out a truck.

To read a copy of the BSFB white paper, visit

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