U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 09,
Contact: Dave Longo
U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces FMCSA Rule Permitting Performance Brake Testing Technology
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today announced a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) final rule establishing pass/fail criteria for use with performance-based brake testers (PBBTs). These devices measure the braking performance of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).
The final rule allows motor carriers and federal, state and local enforcement officials to use this new technology to determine whether a truck or bus complies with brake performance safety standards. PBBTs are expected to save time and their use could increase the number of CMVs that can be inspected in a given time. The final rule represents the culmination of agency research that began in the early 1990s.
"We need to take advantage of new technology to help reduce the number of fatalities related to truck and bus crashes," Secretary Mineta said. "This new safety technology can help prevent crashes by ensuring that trucks and buses have sufficient braking capacity."
A PBBT assesses vehicle-braking capability by measuring brake forces at each wheel or by measuring overall vehicle brake performance in a controlled test. This final rule means that certified roller dynamometers, breakaway torque testers, and flat-plate testers, all of which measure brake force, can be used to measure brake compliance and help determine whether a truck or bus's brakes comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).
"By making it possible to check more trucks for bad brakes, PBBTs will save lives and help ensure that our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and other loved ones reach home safely each day," FMCSA Administrator Joseph M. Clapp said. "This is an example of the kind of technology that can help us reach our goal to reduce truck- and bus-related fatalities by half by 2010."
Only PBBTs that meet specifications developed by the FMCSA can be used to determine compliance with the FMCSR. Today's rule does not replace existing brake performance requirements, but provides an alternative testing method to the little used 20-mph stopping-distance test that requires a testing site with adequate space requirements.
Under the FMCSA specifications, a PBBT manufacturer self-certifies that its PBBT meets specifications and also states which specifications, if any, its PBBT does not meet. A PBBT that is certified to meet FMCSA specifications is eligible for funding under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP). The MCSAP is a federal program administered by FMCSA, to provide funds to States and U.S. territories in support of CMV safety. This means states and territories may use MCSAP funding to purchase PBBTs for use in CMV brake inspections.
The new rule applies to all CMVs and CMV combinations weighing over 10,000 pounds, and is effective on Feb. 5, 2003. The six-month period from publication of the final rule until its effective date is intended to allow time to establish standard test procedures, operator training, and brake repair guidelines.
The new rule is today's Federal Register. It also is on the Internet at
. The docket number for the final rule is FHWA-1999-6266.
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