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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is advising trucking associations, CVSA inspectors and others to thoroughly inspect automatic slack adjusters made by Haldex.

The problem, according to the NTSB, is the product’s control arm may fracture or come loose from the adjuster. If this occurs, the unit will stop adjusting the brake. The NTSB refers to this situation as “deadjust,” and implies the auto slack actually backs off.

NTSB’s concern comes from a fatal bus accident near Atlantic City, N.J., on Christmas Eve 1998 in which eight passengers were killed. While the NTSB investigation ruled brake performance did not cause the accident, it found the right-side brake “grossly out of adjustment”, while the left side was in proper adjustment.

Investigators said a control arm on the ASA had fractured, apparently some time before the accident, and had gone undetected even when the bus had been inspected three days before the crash.

The NTSB is calling for operators of vehicles with Haldex automatic slack adjusters to thoroughly check each one, looking for cracks and fractures and to make sure the adjuster is working properly and brakes are in adjustment.

The NTSB has no regulatory or enforcement authority and can only make recommendations as a result of the accidents it investigates.

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