Trucking Industry News: Reducing the Stopping Distance of Class 8 Tractors

In an effort to make the stopping capabilities of tractor trailers similar to that of a typical passenger car, The U.S. government enacted a three-year program (completed in August 2013) to help reduce the stopping distance of Class 8 tractors. The first phase, which went into effect August 2011, covered three axle tractors up to 59,600 pounds gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR). The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) regulations will eventually include all tractors with GVWRs over 59,600 pounds.

Important Information Regarding the Reduction of Class 8 Tractor Stopping Distances

  1. Steer Axle: The primary change to the tractors’ brakes is on the steer axle. This is because a weight transfer occurs during high deceleration, adding significant load to the steer axle. As a result, more torque can be added to the steer brakes. Therefore, it is important for these tractors to have either larger, higher torque drum brakes on the steer axle, or higher torque air disc brakes.
  2. Two Basics: First of all, brake replacement linings must be selected to assure the friction level of the replacement lining produces equivalent brake torque to the original equipment (OE) linings. Secondly, the introduction of large volumes of air disc brakes to the North American market increases the potential for naturally occurring compatibility problems between disc and drum brakes.
  3. Brake Lining Ratings: The Technology and Maintenance Council’s Recommended Practice 628, Aftermarket Brake Lining Qualification is a voluntary system for rating aftermarket brake linings…and it’s free!
  4. Air Disc Brakes vs. Air Actuated Drum Brakes: Remember, these two are different animals all together, with differences in both design and friction material. The disc brake is the newer product and it has all the advantages of disc brakes on cars, including consistent torque output, significantly reduced fade, and potentially longer life. 

If you have any questions about the Reduction of Class 8 Tractor Stopping Distances, please contact Middleton and Meads by calling 410-752-5588or click here today!

With three locations to serve you throughout Baltimore, Washington and Virginia, Middleton and Meads will keep you “on the road.” So go ahead and do what you do best and let us take care of the rest. Our service professionals are experienced and knowledgeable. That is why companies of all sizes depend on us – day in, day out, mile after mile.

The Middleton & Meads Company has a long and respected history in the transportation industry. We are a family owned and operated company through four generations, celebrating over 90 years quality of truck, bus and equipment repair and service.

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