LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Peterbilt Motors Co. said Wednesday air disc brakes would become standard on all of the company’s Class 8 models.
The announcement came during a news conference at the Mid-America Trucking Show that opens here Thursday.
Air disc brakes offer the shortest stopping distances in the market today and provide a compact design, minimizing weight, reducing maintenance and improving both vehicle and operator efficiency, according to Bill Jackson, PACCAR vice president and Peterbilt general manager.
Peterbilt is the first to go standard with air disc brakes across its full line of Class 8 vehicles, he said.
“Air disc brakes are the premium choice for fleets looking to improve driver productivity and minimize downtime,” Jackson said. “Standard air disc brakes on all our Peterbilt models ensure we are providing all our customers a solution to comply with the government’s reduced stopping distance regulations going into effect this August, as well as a feature that has a positive effect on their bottom line.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released new braking standard requirements in July 2009, requiring tractor-trailers that are traveling at 60 miles per hour to be able to come to a complete stop within 250 feet when loaded to the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
The old standard required a complete stop within 355 feet. For a small number of very heavy, severe service tractors, the new stopping distance requirement will be 310 feet at the same speed and load.
Additionally, all heavy truck tractors must stop within 235 feet when loaded to their lightly loaded vehicle weight. NHTSA estimates that the new braking requirement will save 227 lives annually, prevent 300 serious injuries, and reduce property damage costs by over $169 million annually. The new reduced stopping distance standards go into effect August 1, 2011.
Air disc brakes have a dual, internally adjusted piston design that offers precise automatic brake adjustment and minimal brake force variation for maximum straight line stability, Jackson said, adding that optimized friction pairing provides minimal noise and maximized pad and rotor life, which results in extended service intervals, minimal downtime and reduced maintenance costs.
In addition, Peterbilt has also upgraded the rotors provided with air disc brakes to a newer “splined” design, which will also be standard. The new splined rotor design provides reduced weight up to 50 pounds for a Conventional Class 8 vehicle, improved durability with more resistance to high temperatures, and common parts for both steer and drive axles for simplified maintenance.
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