Drivers

NHTSA Makes External ABS Lamp Rule Permanent

August 27, 2009

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In a final rule, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made permanent an existing rule requiring that trailers with antilock brake systems be equipped with an external antilock malfunction indicator lamp
. This rule is effective Aug. 31.

The indicator lamp requirement, which is included in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 121 that governs vehicles equipped with air brakes, was originally scheduled to sunset on March 1, but had been extended to Sept. 1 in an interim final rule published in the March 3 edition of the Federal Register.

The rule was created in response to a petition from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, which had asked that the requirement be made permanent. The agency decided to make the rule permanent as a result of additional safety purposes served by the external lamp.

According the final rule documentation, the indicator lamp not only warns the driver of a malfunctioning trailer ABS, but it also indicates which trailer in a double-trailer application has a malfunction, and assists federal and state roadside inspectors and maintenance personnel in identifying a malfunctioning trailer ABS.

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