Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The latest information on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is available on

United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Understanding the Safety Impacts of Electronically Controlled Brake Systems in Commercial Motor Vehicles

Project Goal:

To perform an in-depth literature search for data or modeling to determine the impact of brake-by-wire systems on safety (e.g., reduced crashes, injuries, and fatalities).


Brake-by-wire systems provide electronic activation of all braking system components. These systems rely on the use of electronically-controlled communications systems already existing within single-unit trucks and between the towing vehicle and trailer.

Brake-by-wire enhances braking precision, whereas conventional braking shortens braking distance. Furthermore, brake-by-wire systems offer potential safety benefits due to their advanced integration with antilock braking systems, electronic stability control systems, and similar electronically-controlled technologies. Finally, EBS manufacturers (such as WABCO) cite significant cost savings associated with implementation of brake-by-wire systems, due to optimized wheel brake lining wear and other maintenance-related benefits.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 121 requires use of a pneumatic system for foundation brakes. NHTSA has already done some feasibility testing on brake-by-wire systems. By quantifying the safety impacts of such systems, FMCSA may be able to persuade NHTSA to revise FMVSS 121 to allow for brake-by-wire systems in commercial vehicles, potentially increasing the safety of such vehicles on public roads.




October 2019: Final Program Management Plan



February 2021: Mid-Project Briefing



Draft Final Report



Final Report



 Final Briefing





       Total Funding: $ 349,727.00




            Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

Last updated: Thursday, October 14, 2021