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NHTSA issues new braking rule for trucks

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Tractor-trailers traveling at 60 miles per hour will be required to come to a complete stop in 250 feet, a 30% improvement over the current government requirement, thanks to new braking standards from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

NHTSA estimates that the new braking requirement will save 227 lives annually, and will also prevent 300 serious injuries each year. It is estimated to reduce property damage costs by over $169 million annually.

The new regulation will be phased in over four years beginning with 2012 models.

NHTSA says the new rule "should speed up the introduction of the latest brake technology into America’s freight hauling fleets and will help truck drivers avoid collisions with other vehicles. The new rule applies only to truck tractors, and does not include single-unit trucks, trailers and buses."

The agency says its statistics show that "large commercial vehicles continue to show a decrease in their involvement in fatal crashes. In 2008, 4,229 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks, down 12% from the 4,822 deaths recorded in 2007."

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