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FMCSA Proposes Eliminating Brake Safety Requirement After Lobbyist Petition

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently proposed eliminating a braking safety requirement after a petition for rulemaking was presented by a lobbying organization for trucking companies. The FMCSA proposes to eliminate the operational brake requirement for the final saddle-mounted tractor or truck in a triple saddle-mount combo. The federal trucking and motor carrier regulations currently require operational brakes on any wheel of a saddle-mounted vehicle on a commercial motor vehicle.

The FMCSA’s proposed rule change follows a petition for rulemaking submitted by the Automobile Carriers Conference (ACC). The ACC is a part of the American Trucking Associations, which represents commercial motor carriers. The ACC represents motor carriers that specifically transport motor vehicles like passenger cars.

The ACC submitted the petition because it believes that the requirement degrades braking performance. The degradation occurs when the axle of the last vehicle locks up under heavy braking. The operational brake may actually increase stopping distance if it causes an axle to lock. When stopping distance increases, truck drivers have a more difficult time avoiding Missouri truck accidents. The ACC based its petition on data from performance tests performed by a firm named Link-Radlinski, Inc. (then known as Radlinski & Associates). The firm conducted the tests for another company.

The FMCSA is proposing the rule change because it agrees with the tests upon which the ACC based its petition. Since eliminating the operational brake requirement may improve braking performance, the officials at the FMCSA believe the elimination is consistent with the goal of strengthening highway safety. If the ACC and the FMCSA are correct, the rule change may decrease the number of Missouri trucking accidents.