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Reviewing truck brake system requirements

Imagine a large semi-truck trying to make a sudden stop on the streets on Richmond. Sadly, many of the clients that our team here at Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Beachtold has worked with have had to witness firsthand just how great a challenge this is. Given the unique specifications of their vehicles, truck drivers (and the companies that employ them) are required to adhere to strict safety and performance standards. Brake maintenance is among them.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set strict braking requirements for them. It classifies the vehicles covered under this standard into the following categories: 

  • Single-unit vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 lbs. or less
  • Single-unit vehicles weighing more than 10,000 lbs.
  • Two-axle towing vehicle and trailer combinations weighing 3000 lbs. or less
  • All single-unit or 2-vehicle combinations involved in drive-away or tow-away operations
  • All other single-unit or 2-vehicle combinations. 

Single-unit vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,000 must generate a braking force equal to 52.8 percent of its GVWR; all other vehicles must generate a force of 43.5 percent. Single-unit vehicles with a GVWR under 10,000 must also be able to decelerate at 17 feet per second, while all others must at 14 feet per second. Finally, single-unit vehicles with a GVWR under 10,000 must be able to stop within 66 feet of applying the brakes from a speed of 20 mph. Those with a GVWR over 10,000, drive-away or tow-way vehicles and 2-vehicle combinations with GVWRs under 3000 must do the same in 85 feet, while all other property carrying vehicles must do it in 90. 

How can you determine is a truck that hit you met these requirements? An accident reconstruction should be able to, or you can request the truck itself be tested. More information on determining liability for truck accidents can be found here on our site. 

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Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Baechtold

225 West Irvine Street
Richmond, KY 40475

Toll Free: 800-494-9916
Phone: 859-353-0878
Fax: 859-623-6406
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P.O. Box 157
Richmond, KY 40476