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U.S. considers brake testers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Future brake tests in the U.S. could rely on brake dynamometers rather than being limited to traditional mark-and-measure approaches.U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater has ...


DYNO-MIGHT: U.S. considers dynomometers for enforcement. (File photo)
DYNO-MIGHT: U.S. considers dynomometers for enforcement. (File photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Future brake tests in the U.S. could rely on brake dynamometers rather than being limited to traditional mark-and-measure approaches.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater has announced how he wants the “performance-based brake testers” used to check trucks and buses.

“These tests would apply modern technology to truck and bus safety, supplementing labor-intensive visual brake inspections,” he said.

The performance-based testers measure the braking forces at individual wheel ends or the overall braking power of a vehicle. Specific testers include the roller dynamometer, breakaway torque tester, and flat-plate tester.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also wants state and local officials to be able to issue tickets based on the results.

“PBBTs provide a new and better way to identify vehicles with unsafe brakes,” says Clyde Hart, Jr., acting deputy administrator of FMCSA.

Ten states and several fleets have researched the equipment by testing nearly 3,000 vehicles.

Comments on the proposal should be sent by Oct. 8 to the Docket Clerk, U.S. DOT Dockets, Docket No. FMCSA-99-6266, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh St., S.W., Washington, D.C., 20590-0001. Submissions will be posted on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov, while the site can also be used to submit new comments. n


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