The NHTSA has issued new braking requirements for commercial truck tractors on the basis that the update will save 227 lives, prevent 300 serious injuries, and reduce property damage costs by over $169 million on an annual basis. Beginning as early as August 1, 2011, certain semi-trucks must be able to execute a full stop from a 60 mph roll in 250 feet. The old standard was 355 feet, indicating a reduction in stopping distance of nearly 30 percent.
The August 1, 2011 deadline applies to three-axle tractors with a GVWR of 59,600 pounds and less. Two-axle tractors and semi trucks with a GVWR in excess of 59,600 pounds have until August 1, 2013, to meet the new 250-foot stopping-distance requirement. Severe service tractors will need to be able to stop within 310 feet from a 60-mph roll.
In addition to these new stopping requirements for loaded tractors, all trucks must also be able to stop within 235 feet when loaded to their "lightly loaded vehicle weight." The new rules do not apply to single-unit trucks, trailers, and buses.