The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration responded, in part, to petitions for reconsideration about the final rule for truck stopping distance requirements, which were published in July.

The petitions focused on four main issues, as well as identified some typographical errors in the final rule. The main issues included the stopping distance requirements for reduced
speeds, the omission of four-axle tractors under 59,600 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) from the listed requirements and the date at which the improved stopping distance
requirements should apply to those tractors, the manner in which NHTSA characterized the typical three-axle tractor, and the fuel tank fill level testing specification.

Separate petitions were received from the Truck Manufacturers Association; the Heavy Duty
Brake Manufacturers Council of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association; Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, and ArvinMeritor. The agency received four additional petitions supporting and incorporating the TMA petition by reference from Daimler Trucks North
America, Kenworth, Peterbilt and Navistar.

In a final rule published Nov. 13, NHTSA addressed all the issues except those relating to stopping distance requirements at reduced speeds. With regard to that issue, the
agency is closely examining the petitions and working to formulate a comprehensive response.

* Four- or More Axle Tractors (GVWR 59,600 and below) - The petitioners pointed out the omission of a compliance date for these tractors and, as drafted in the final rule, these tractors would inadvertently be subject to comply with the requirements in Table IIa on Nov. 24, 2009. NHTSA says it did not intend to omit these tractors and accepted petitioners' request to require compliance for four- or more axle tractors by Aug. 1, 2013. This provides a four-year lead time.

* Definition of "Typical Three-Axle Tractors" - NHTSA acknowledged a slight, but substantive discrepancy between how the agency definted this term in the preamble of the final rule and how it defined it in the regulatory text of the standard. NHTSA will amend the final rule and modify this category of vehicles subject to the two-year lead time to three-axle tractors with a front axle (steer) GAWR of up to 14,600 pounds and a combined GAWR for the two rear axles (drive) of up to 45,000 pounds.

* Fuel Tank Loading Specification - NHTSA agreed with a petitioner's argument that the fuel tank load specification was not in the original notice of proposed rulemaking, therefore, procedurally, the agency agreed to remove the fuel tank fill specification from the text of the regulation's test procedure.

* Typographical Corrections - All the petitioners noted typographical errors to the regulatory text of the final rule, specifically to Table II, and the agency will make the changes.

To view the NHTSA Federal Register notice responding to the petitions for reconsideration, click here.