Bendix supports ‘Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day’

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems announced its endorsement of “Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day,” to be held Oct. 10. Founded in 2001 and overseen by the Transportation & Development Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the day highlights a variety of methods to help reduce the number of accidents on American highways.

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

With more than 3.1 million truck drivers logging about 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, the company said.

“Safe driving practices by everyone behind the wheel of any vehicle – no matter the vehicle – are the most crucial factor in preventing highway fatalities,” said 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.”

NHTSA’s Reduced Stopping Distance mandate established a 30 percent reduction in stopping distance for most commercial vehicles by Aug. 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, Bendix said; 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,” said Gary Ganaway, director of marketing and global customer solutions for Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake. “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 reminded fleets and drivers about the importance of proper brake maintenance, inspection and parts replacement.

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