Bendix Shows Support for Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day

Bendix announces its support for Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day, which is held on October 10.

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, the North American leader in the development and manufacture of leading-edge active safety and braking system technologies, endorses Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day, to be held October 10. Founded in 2001 and overseen by the Transportation & Development Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day highlights a variety of methods to help reduce the number of accidents on American highways.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that 32,310 people died in traffic crashes in 2011, a 1.7% decline from 2010. However, projections from the first half of 2012 showed an estimated 16,290 fatalities – an increase of about 9% compared to the first quarter of 2011.

With more than 3.1 million truck drivers logging approximately 400 billion total miles a year, according to the American Trucking Associations, commercial vehicles make up a significant portion of the highway landscape. Bendix believes that there’s no trucking industry substitute for safe drivers practicing safe driving habits, and comprehensive driver training. Technologies like today’s high-performance braking systems, engineered to meet new, stringent stopping distance regulations for commercial vehicles, along with active safety technologies, such as stability and collision mitigation systems, help good, safety-conscious drivers bring about even safer roadways.

“Safe driving practices by everyone behind the wheel of any vehicle – no matter the vehicle – are the most crucial factor in preventing highway fatalities,” says Fred Andersky, Bendix director of government and industry affairs. “By providing fleets and drivers with the most advanced braking systems available, we aim to help improve the highways for everyone.”

The NHTSA Reduced Stopping Distance (RSD) mandate established a 30% reduction in stopping distance for most commercial vehicles by August 1, 2011. A second phase of implementation will take effect in August 2013.

While the RSD mandate does not apply to all commercial vehicles, the braking systems developed to meet the more stringent standards can improve safety performance across the spectrum of these vehicles. Straight trucks, buses and motorcoaches equipped with air disc or drum brakes provide surer, safer stops with less fade and perform better at high speeds.

“In responding to the new RSD rules, the commercial vehicle industry has created braking solutions that are more effective than ever before,” says Gary Ganaway, director of marketing and global customer solutions for Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB). “From larger, more powerful drum brakes and better friction materials to the next generation of air disc brakes, these systems are more than just a response to regulations – they represent an ongoing commitment to improving highway safety.”

In marking Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day, Bendix reminds fleets and drivers about the importance of proper brake maintenance, inspection, and parts replacement.

“Regularly scheduled preventive maintenance and pre-trip inspections are key to ensuring the best performance from today’s braking systems,” Ganaway says. “In the increasingly crowded environments of our highways, proper brake adjustment and upkeep are essential to safety.”

BSFB is a joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC.

Bendix’s pre-trip inspection recommendations include checking for leaks with a 90 to 100 psi brake application, examining brake shoes for cracks and lining thickness, and measuring chamber stroke on each wheel-end, in accordance with Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) and industry standard practices. For foundation drum brakes, fleets should follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the adjustment of slack adjusters.

General wheel-end inspections should also include close attention to the rubber boots on brakes, where cracks or tears can allow moisture to get inside.

Bendix also stresses the importance of maintaining brake systems with the original replacement parts specifically engineered to meet the higher standards of the federal RSD mandate. Choosing non-OE replacement brake lining or slack adjusters in a drum brake, for example, can significantly reduce performance, increase stopping distance, and create a safety hazard.

“Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day brings into sharp focus the importance of addressing highway safety from all angles and the critical support advanced braking and active safety systems can provide to help drivers mitigate crash situations,” Andersky says. “Across the commercial vehicle industry, the contribution of fleet leadership, drivers, owner/operators, technicians, and technologies is essential to preventing accidents and improving the safety of our roads.”