NHTSA denies petitioner’s request regarding antilock brake systems

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has denied a petition for rulemaking from a petitioner who requested that the agency vacate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 121, Air Brake Systems by removing requirements for antilock brake systems for newly-manufactured vehicles equipped with air-brake systems; or that the agency require a driver-controllable switch that would allow the driver to deactivate the ABS on air-braked vehicles; or that the agency require the automatic deactivation of ABS on air-braked vehicles when the vehicles are traveling at speeds greater than 55 mph.

The petitioner, William B. Trescott, claimed that an agency report shows that ABS on tractor-trailers increases fatal crash involvements, and also that ABS allows incompetent truck drivers to drive trucks. The agency says it reviewed these claims and found them to be without merit, and concluded that its report cited by the petitioner does not support the conclusion that safety would be improved by allowing ABS to be deactivated. NHTSA says the data actually supports the conclusion that removing ABS from trucks would result in an increase in crashes.