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NHTSA Rejects Delay of ABS Rulemaking

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has denied a petition by the Heavy Duty Brake Manufacturers Council (HDBMC) of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association to delay implementation for transmittal of antilock braking system (ABS) malfunction signals from trailers to tractors and trucks equipped to tow trailers.

These requirements are specified in S5.1.6.2(b) for trucks and tractors, and S5.2.3.2 for trailers, of FMVSS #121, Air Brake Systems. The petitioner cites difficulties of its member companies in obtaining suitable computer chips at a reasonable cost to perform ABS malfunction signal communications. However, the agency believes the member companies' failure to reach suitable business arrangements with their supplier and a holder of a patent on this technology has resulted in this situation. The agency notes that nearly five years of lead time was provided to meet these requirements. Current difficulties cited by the petitioner constitute normal commercial problems, not a lack of available technology, says NHTSA.

For further information, phone Jeff Woods, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards, NHTSA, at 202-366-6206 or fax him at 202-366-4329.

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