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Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation: Brakes; Adjustment Limits

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Trucking American Government

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation: Brakes; Adjustment Limits

William Bronrott
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
August 6, 2012


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 151 (Monday, August 6, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 46633-46640]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-18899]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 393 and Appendix G to Subchapter B of Chapter III

[Docket No. FMCSA-2010-0257]
RIN 2126-AB28


Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation: Brakes; 
Adjustment Limits

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) amends 
the requirements regarding brake readjustment limits in the Federal 
Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). This rule amends the 
readjustment limits, clarifies their application, and corrects an error 
in cross-referencing a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS). 
This rule responds to a petition for rulemaking from the Commercial 
Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

DATES: Effective Date: This final rule becomes effective September 5, 
2012.
    Petitions for Reconsideration of this final rule must be submitted 
to the FMCSA Administrator no later than September 5, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Please include the Docket ID Number FMCSA-2010-0257 or the 
Regulatory identification Number (RIN) 2126-AB28 in the subject line of 
your petition, and submit it by any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
online instructions for submitting comments.
    Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Ground 
Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-
140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Fax: 202-493-2251.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Deborah M. Freund, Vehicle and 
Roadside Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and 
Operations (MC-PSV), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001; 
deborah.freund@dot.gov; telephone (202) 366-5370.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
I. Abbreviations
II. Legal Basis for the Rulemaking
III. Background
IV. CVSA's Petition
V. NPRM; Comments Received
VI. Regulatory Analyses

I. Abbreviations

ATA American Trucking Associations
CMV commercial motor vehicle
CVSA Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
DOT U.S. Department of Transportation
FHWA Federal Highway Administration
FMCSRs Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
FMVSSs Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
OOS out of service
SAE Society of Automotive Engineers

II. Legal Basis for the Rulemaking

    This final rule is based on the authority of the Motor Carrier Act 
of 1935 (Pub. L. 74-255, 49 Stat. 543, August 9, 1935, now codified at 
49 U.S.C. 31502(b)) (1935 Act) and the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 
(Pub. L. 98-554, Title II, 98 Stat. 2832, October 30, 1984) (the 1984 
Act), both of which provide broad discretion to the Secretary of 
Transportation (Secretary) in implementing their provisions.
    The 1935 Act provides that the Secretary may prescribe requirements 
for (1) qualifications and maximum hours of service of employees of, 
and safety of operation and equipment of, a motor carrier [49 U.S.C. 
31502(b)(1)], and (2) qualifications and maximum hours of service of 
employees of, and standards of equipment of, a motor private carrier, 
when needed to promote safety of operation [section 31502(b)(2)]. This 
final rule is based on the Secretary's authority to regulate the safety 
and standards of equipment of for-hire and private carriers.
    The 1984 Act gives the Secretary concurrent authority to regulate 
drivers, motor carriers, and vehicle equipment. Codified in 49 U.S.C. 
31136(a), section 206(a) of the Act requires the Secretary to publish 
regulations on commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety. Specifically, the 
Act sets forth minimum safety standards to ensure that (1) CMVs are 
maintained, equipped, loaded, and operated safely [section 
31136(a)(1)]; (2) the responsibilities imposed on operators of CMVs do 
not impair their ability to operate the vehicles safely [section 
31136(a)(2)]; (3) the physical condition of CMV operators is adequate 
to enable them to operate the vehicles safely [section 31136(a)(3)]; 
and (4) the operation of CMVs does not have a deleterious effect on the 
physical

[[Page 46634]]

condition of the operators [section 31136(a)(4)].
    The rule provides improved guidance concerning CMV brake adjustment 
limits. The revised requirements concerning maximum pushrod stroke for 
brake actuators will enhance the braking performance of the vehicle, 
consistent with section 31136(a)(1). The rule is not concerned with the 
responsibilities or physical condition of drivers addressed by section 
31136(a)(2) and (3), respectively, and deals with section 31136(a)(4) 
only to the extent that a safer vehicle is less likely to have a 
deleterious effect on the physical condition of a driver. Before 
prescribing any such regulations, however, FMCSA must consider the 
``costs and benefits'' of any proposal (49 U.S.C. 31136(c)(2)(A) and 
31502(d)).

III. Background

    Appendix G, Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards, was added to the 
FMCSRs in 1988 (53 FR 49411, Dec. 7, 1988). Under the inspection 
standards of Appendix G, all items required to be inspected must be in 
proper adjustment, must not be defective, and must function properly 
before a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is placed in service. Appendix 
G includes, among many other things, brake adjustment (readjustment) 
limits. Paragraph 1.a.(5) of this appendix currently states that the 
maximum stroke at which brakes should be readjusted is given below. Any 
brake \1/4\'' or more past the readjustment limit or any two brakes 
less than \1/4\''; beyond the readjustment limit shall be cause for 
rejection. Stroke shall be measured with engine off and reservoir 
pressure of 80 to 90 psi with brakes fully applied.
    The figures in the rightmost column of each of the three tables 
following paragraph 1.a.(5) indicate the maximum stroke at which brakes 
should be readjusted.
    Subsequently, in June 1991, the Society of Automotive Engineers 
(SAE) (now known as SAE International) developed International 
Recommended Practice J1817 (SAE J1817) to provide a marking system that 
distinguishes long-stroke from standard-stroke air brake actuators, 
rotochambers, and their components. It defines ``rated stroke'' as the 
minimum design stroke of a brake actuator.
    The 2001 revision of SAE J1817 includes tables listing recommended 
values for minimum rated stroke and maximum readjustment stroke for 
clamp band/sealed design standard- stroke brake actuators (Table 1A), 
clamp band/sealed design long-stroke brake actuators (Table 1B), and 
rotochamber designs (Table 1C). Table 1B is further broken down to 
include three classes of long-stroke actuators. The classes are defined 
according to the range of difference between the maximum readjustment 
stroke and the standard rated stroke. In most but not all cases, the 
maximum readjustment stroke is 80 percent of the minimum rated stroke. 
The differences are greatest for the smaller sizes of brake chambers.
    In 1997, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), FMCSA's 
predecessor agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 
published in the Federal Register an NPRM titled ``Parts and 
Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; General Amendments'' (62 FR 
18169, Apr. 14, 1997). The NPRM proposed various amendments to 49 CFR 
part 393 and 49 CFR part 571, which generally did not establish new or 
more stringent requirements but clarified existing requirements.
    As part of that NPRM, FHWA proposed to add a new Sec.  393.47(e) to 
the FMCSRs to specify the maximum permissible stroke for different 
types (sizes) of brake chambers and incorporate by reference SAE J1817, 
Long-Stroke Air-Brake Actuator Marking (June 1991). The NPRM proposed 
to require that the maximum values for pushrod stroke for clamp- and 
rotochamber-type actuators must be less than 80 percent of the rated 
strokes listed in SAE J1817, or 80 percent of the rated stroke marked 
on the brake chamber by the chamber manufacturer, or the readjustment 
limit marked on the brake chamber by the chamber manufacturer. For 
types 16 and 20 long-stroke clamp-type brake actuators, the NPRM 
proposed that the pushrod stroke must be less than 51 mm (2 in.), or 80 
percent of the rated stroke marked on the brake chamber by the chamber 
manufacturer, or the readjustment limit marked on the brake chamber by 
the chamber manufacturer. The NPRM did not propose to revise the 
Appendix G brake readjustment-limits tables.
    FMCSA published the final rule on August 15, 2005 (70 FR 48007). 
The Agency revised Sec.  393.47(e) as proposed, except that it 
incorporated by reference the July 2001 revision of SAE J1817 rather 
than the June 1991 edition. No commenters to the docket for that 
rulemaking addressed the proposed incorporation by reference of SAE 
J1817.

IV. CVSA's Petition

    On April 16, 2007, CVSA petitioned the Agency to revise Sec.  
393.47(e). CVSA stated that, although the readjustment (or brake 
actuator stroke) limits of SAE J1817are consistent with those listed in 
Appendix G and CVSA's North American Standard Out-of-Service (OOS) 
Criteria, Sec.  393.47(e) ``specifies readjustment (stroke) limits 
based on 80 percent of the rated (full) strokes listed in SAE J1817.'' 
Relying on this criterion introduces discrepancies between Sec.  
393.47(e) and SAE J1817. Although the readjustment limits listed in SAE 
J1817 agree with those in Appendix G and the OOS Criteria, they differ, 
for some brake chambers, from the ``80 percent of rated stroke'' 
specified in Sec.  393.47(e). Consequently, ``[t]he enforcement and/or 
noting of Sec.  393.47(e) violations by cross-referencing the 
regulation to 80% of SAE J1817--Long Stroke Air-Brake Actuator Marking, 
July, 2001 is proving problematic for inspectors and industry.''
    CVSA also pointed out that Sec.  393.47(e) considers a brake with 
the stroke at the readjustment limit to be out of adjustment. In 
contrast, both Appendix G and the OOS Criteria state that the brake 
pushrod stroke must exceed the readjustment limit for the brake to be 
considered out of adjustment. The petitioners added that the values in 
both Appendix G and the OOS Criteria were established consistent with 
brake manufacturers' recommendations. Although the CVSA subsequently 
updated the OOS Criteria to include several types of long-stroke clamp-
type brake chambers, FMCSA has not similarly revised the Appendix G 
values.
    In addition, CVSA requested that FMCSA revise Sec.  393.53, 
Automatic brake adjusters and brake adjustment indicators, to include 
references to the applicable requirements for such equipment on 
trailers. Sections 393.53(b) and (c) would be revised to include a 
reference to paragraph S5.2.2 so that the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard (FMVSS) citations include the reference to trailers and read, 
``49 CFR 571.121, S5.1.8 or S5.2.2.''
    On June 10, 2008, CVSA amended its April 2007 petition to correct 
the text of the table subheadings for clamp-type and rotochamber-type 
chamber data in the original petition and to add tables for Bendix DD-3 
and bolt-type brake chamber data. The amended petition changed the 
table subheadings ``Brake Chamber Pushrod Stroke Limit'' and ``RC 
Actuate Pushrod Stroke Limit'' to read ``Brake Adjustment Limit'' and 
``Rotochamber Type Brake Chamber Data,'' respectively.
    FMCSA has placed copies of CVSA's 2007 petition and 2008 correction 
in the docket for this rulemaking.

[[Page 46635]]

V. NPRM; Comments Received

    In response to the CVSA petition, FMCSA published a notice of 
proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register on September 2, 2011 (76 FR 
54721).
    The Agency received comments from CVSA, the American Trucking 
Associations (ATA), the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA), 
and Meritor WABCO Vehicle Control Systems (Meritor WABCO).
    1. Revise and expand the readjustment limit tables, and include in 
Sec.  393.47 and Appendix G. The NPRM proposed to revise and expand the 
readjustment-limits tables as recommended by CVSA, and to include these 
revised tables in Sec.  393.47(e) and Appendix G. The revised tables 
cover readjustment limits not only for clamp-, bolt-, and rotochamber-
type brake chambers, but also for Bendix DD-3 chambers. The table for 
clamp-type brake chambers also differentiates between readjustment 
limits for more sizes of standard-stroke and long-stroke chambers.
    All commenters supported the inclusion of the proposed readjustment 
limit tables in Sec.  393.47(e) and Appendix G. Meritor WABCO stated 
that ``The addition of the tables will clarify the chamber stroke 
limits and reduce confusion in the field. Including these tables in 
both * * * Sec.  393.47(e) and Appendix G will eliminate the need for 
cross-referencing in the regulation. The additional text (after the 
tables) is also appropriate to reinforce the chamber manufacturers' use 
of marking and labeling of their actuators with the rated or 
readjustment strokes.''
    With regard to all proposed readjustment limit tables, CVSA 
suggests that the Agency consider increasing the metric conversions to 
tenths of a millimeter. CVSA has found that roadside enforcement 
officers who are trained using metric measurement (whether in Canada or 
other jurisdictions) benefit from the additional decimal place, 
especially in making conversions or comparisons from Imperial to 
Metric, or vice versa, when reference materials or data system entries 
require them. Furthermore, Canada's pending National Safety Code (NSC) 
Standard 11 update, to be implemented in 2013, and CVSA's Out-of-
Service Criteria (OOSC) will be adopting metric conversions expressed 
to the tenth of a millimeter for the same reason.
    CVSA advised FMCSA of a typographical error concerning the Type A 
chamber outside diameter. The value shown in the NPRM is 6\5/16\ inch 
(176 mm). The correct value is 6\15/16\ inch (176 mm).
    Agency Response. The Agency amends Sec.  393.47(e) and Appendix G 
to include readjustment limit tables. The Agency has included metric 
measurements to the tenth of a millimeter as suggested by CVSA, and has 
corrected the typographical error for the Type A chamber outside 
diameter.
    2. Threshold for brake adjustment violation, Sec.  393.47(e). The 
NPRM proposed changes to paragraph 1a(5) of Appendix G, ``Brake System, 
Service Brakes,'' to be consistent with the Sec.  393.47(e) requirement 
that pushrod stroke be less than the values specified in the 
accompanying tables.
    In support of this proposed amendment, the NPRM stated:

    An s-cam brake that is at the readjustment limit when it is cold 
will be beyond the readjustment limit when it gets hot. FMCSA 
believes that vehicles should not be dispatched with brakes at the 
readjustment limit, because those brakes will be found to be beyond 
the adjustment limit--and out of compliance with the regulations--if 
evaluated during a roadside inspection after the brakes have become 
hot due to operational use * * * The Agency believes, however, that 
it is appropriate to require motor carriers to take action under the 
requirements of Sec.  393.47 when a brake is at the adjustment 
limit. * * * To avoid confusion in the enforcement community and the 
industry, this NPRM proposes to amend Appendix G to make its 
requirements consistent with those of Sec.  393.47(e) adopted in the 
August 2005 rule.

    Both CVSA and Meritor WABCO opposed the NPRM proposal that would 
require pushrod stroke to be less than the values specified in the 
tables. Instead, the commenters recommended that the out-of-adjustment 
criteria in Sec.  393.47 be when the brake stroke is greater than the 
established limits, as recommended by CVSA in its original petition. In 
support of its position CVSA stated:

    CVSA maintains its recommendation that brake out-of-adjustment 
findings should be made when pushrod stroke exceeds the limits 
listed in the adjustment limit tables, rather than the proposed 
requirement that they must be less than established adjustment 
limits * * *. The reasons for this convention, now uniformly used by 
CVSA in training and in enforcement, are twofold. [Emphasis added.]
    First, consistency is important in roadside enforcement * * * 
The 20 percent rule gives inspectors and commercial vehicle 
operators clear and consistent expectations relative to proper brake 
adjustment and out of service conditions. Prior to the 1996 change 
to the OOSC, inspectors were mixed as to whether or not they 
determined a brake measured at the stroke limit to be the out of 
adjustment. The [1996] change to using brake stroke measurements 
found beyond the adjustment limit to be out of adjustment 
established much better consistency.
    Second, fairness and compliance with the regulation are critical 
for successful enforcement. * * * By using brake stroke measurements 
that exceed adjustment limits as the criteria for being out of 
adjustment, inspectors make more consistent and, we believe, fairer 
assessments * * *. [Emphasis added.]
    Ultimately, CVSA determined that amending the OOSC to consider 
brake stroke measured beyond the established limits, rather than at 
the limits, would address both aforementioned needs--to be both more 
consistent and fair in enforcement--without markedly changing the 
training. Indeed, we believe the move to penalizing brake stroke 
beyond rather than at the adjustment limits shifts out-of-service 
findings using the 20 percent rule to be more consistent with the 
intent of the rule.
    CVSA respectfully disagrees with the agency's reasoning for 
denying this part of our petition. We acknowledge that s-cam brakes, 
when heated, will exhibit an increase in brake stroke. However, 
brake stroke adjustment limits were established with reserve stroke 
included under SAE J1817 in order to, at least in part, accommodate 
for such normal in-service increases in stroke as those due to 
thermal expansion. Furthermore, as with all roadside enforcement 
determinations, inspectors can only assess the as is condition of 
the vehicle--not what might be the case one mile or more miles down 
the road.

    Agency Response. Although SAE J1817 does not appear to make an 
explicit statement concerning reserve stroke, the concept is described 
in detail in the UMTRI study referenced in the NPRM (``Evaluation of 
Brake Adjustment Criteria for Heavy Trucks,'' FHWA-MC-94-016, March 
1995). And, as FMCSA noted in the NPRM, citing that study, ``Although 
in some cases, the readjustment limits listed in SAE J1817 are 80 
percent of the rated stroke for a given actuator, deviations exist.'' 
(76 FR 54721, at 54723). Because of the inherent challenge in making 
precise measurements of brake stroke, the proposed requirement for 
measured values to be ``less than'' the figures in the tables could, in 
practice, be taken as requiring measurements as much as \1/8\ inch less 
than the values shown. In contrast, the CVSA's recommendation for 
measurements to ``not be greater than'' the value specified would 
require values to be less than or equal to the values shown in the 
table.
    Based on the above, and to be clear that pushrod stroke measured to 
be at the adjustment limit is not considered out of adjustment, FMCSA 
amends the language in Sec.  393.47(e) to read as follows: ``The 
pushrod stroke for clamp- and rotochamber brake actuator must

[[Page 46636]]

not be greater than the values specified in the following tables:''.
    3. Threshold for periodic inspection, Appendix G. CVSA and Meritor 
WABCO noted that under the current wording of Section 1.a(5) of 
Appendix G (as well as in the proposed amendment to the same section in 
the NPRM), a vehicle successfully meeting the annual inspection 
requirements concerning brake adjustment would be issued a brake out-
of-adjustment violation if inspected at roadside. Both commenters 
recommended dropping any reference to specific readjustment limits in 
Section 1.a(5) of Appendix G.
    CVSA noted ``that referencing a specific length of stroke in excess 
of the adjustment limits for any one, or two brakes especially, may 
misguide maintenance personnel into not adjusting brakes that should be 
adjusted since a vehicle meeting the annual inspection standard as 
proposed would, to the contrary, already be in violation of the FMCSRs 
as they are enforced at roadside. As an example, a single brake 
measuring \1/8\ inches past the adjustment limit would be considered 
out-of-adjustment at roadside but would meet the wording provided for 
in the Appendix G proposal.'' Similarly, Meritor WABCO noted that 
``Further, the proposed wording in Appendix G results in confirming an 
acceptable maintenance inspection, allowing vehicles to be put back in 
service when brake strokes exceed the readjustment limit by \1/4\ inch 
or less.''
    Agency Response. CVSA and Meritor WABCO are correct in stating that 
a CMV could pass a periodic inspection yet be found to be in violation 
when inspected at roadside.
    To maintain consistency between Sec.  393.47 and Appendix G, the 
Agency amends the Appendix G threshold to be the same as that in the 
amended Sec.  393.47(e) as follows: ``Any brake stroke exceeding the 
readjustment limit will be rejected:''
    4. Eliminate the incorporation by reference to SAE J1817 in Sec.  
393.7(b)(15). The NPRM proposed to eliminate the incorporation by 
reference to SAE J1817 in Sec.  393.47(e). Inclusion of the new tables 
in Sec.  393.47(e) would provide explicit readjustment limits for each 
type of actuator, eliminating the need for the cross-reference.
    HDMA and Meritor WABCO supported this amendment, and HDMA noted 
that ``* * * removing the reference to SAE J1817 Long Stroke Air Brake 
Actuator Marking, July 2001 is appropriate and reduces future confusion 
between the sections involved in this NPRM.''
    Agency Response. The Agency amends Sec.  393.7 by eliminating Sec.  
393.7(b)(15).
    5. Revise Sec.  393.53 to add a cross-reference to the Federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard applicable to trailers. The NPRM proposed 
to revise Sec.  393.53(b) and (c) to add a cross-reference to FMVSS No. 
121, S5.2.2. Although the introductory text of each paragraph clearly 
states that it is applicable to ``each commercial motor vehicle,'' 
Sec.  393.53(b) and (c) omit a cross-reference to the FMVSSs applicable 
to trailers (S5.2.2). The NPRM proposed to add this cross-reference to 
eliminate potential confusion.
    CVSA, Meritor WABCO, and HDMA all supported this change.
    Agency Response. FMCSA amends Sec.  393.53(b) and (c) to add a 
cross-reference to FMVSS No. 121, S5.2.2.
    6. Recommendation to use common terminology. In its comment to the 
docket, CVSA suggested that the agency consider clarifying a number of 
terms used to describe brake actuator pushrod stroke and adjustment 
status and limits to make the meanings clearer to vehicle operators and 
inspectors. CVSA noted examples such as ``readjustment'' and 
``adjustment;'' and ``pushrod travel'' and ``pushrod stroke.'' CVSA 
also believes there is an opportunity to improve the public awareness 
regarding the function of automatic slack adjusters, citing the 
National Transportation Safety Board's 2006 Safety Recommendations (H-
06-001 and H-06-002) that CVSA and FMCSA should work to improve 
training and proficiency on brake adjustment, and specifically that 
brake systems with automatic slack adjusters should not be manually 
adjusted.
    Agency Response: FMCSA has made, and continues to make, revisions 
to clarify its regulatory and safety outreach materials. In many cases, 
however, the Agency must use technical terms that are consistent with 
those used by other safety agencies (particularly the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)) and by standards development 
organizations (such as SAE International). Responding to CVSA's 
comment, FMCSA will use the terms ``pushrod stroke'' rather than 
``pushrod travel,'' and ``readjustment limit'' rather than ``adjustment 
limit'' in regulatory text.
    Reflecting the longstanding concerns about manual adjustment of 
automatic brake adjusters (also known as self-adjusting brake 
adjusters), FMCSA advised the NTSB by letter on October 15, 2009 that, 
in conjunction with CVSA, the Agency had taken action to modify the 
North American Standard Inspection training materials to include a 
module about the potential safety risks associated with manually 
adjusting automatic slack adjusters. The NTSB acknowledged this effort 
and classified Safety Recommendation H-06-001 ``Closed--Acceptable 
Action'' on August 10, 2010.
    The following language will now be used on inspection reports: 
``This vehicle has brake adjustment violations. Section 393.53 of 49 
CFR requires that this vehicle be equipped with a self-adjusting brake 
system. A qualified service technician needs to determine why the 
defective brake has excessive stroke and make the appropriate repair. 
Simply re-adjusting a self-adjusting brake adjuster, or replacing it, 
does not guarantee that the problem is corrected. The problem may exist 
in the foundation brake system. By certifying this inspection report 
you have indicated that this vehicle now has a properly functioning 
self-adjusting brake adjustment system.'' The information contained in 
the training materials provided in Module 6 of the North American 
Standard Level I--Part B (Vehicle) Inspection Course was updated in 
June 2007. It was also included in the Brake Check Card. In addition, 
FMCSA worked with the Heavy-Duty Brake Manufacturers Council (HDBMC) 
and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) to develop a 
``Brake Check Card'' for drivers and brake technicians. FMCSA has 
distributed some 34,000 of these cards, as well as 28 copies of the CD-
ROM containing printable files to individuals and companies since 
November 2007. Recipients include brake suppliers, insurance companies, 
State commercial motor vehicle safety agencies through the CVSA, and 
others. The CVSA and our State partners alone distributed approximately 
20,000 cards during the September 2008 Brake Safety Week. NTSB 
acknowledged this work and on August 10, 2010, classified Safety 
Recommendation H-06-002 as Open--Acceptable Alternative Response.
    FMCSA also notes that the SAE International Truck and Bus Brake 
Actuator Committee has initiated work on a new SAE Recommended 
Practice, J2899, which would describe the physical characteristics of 
air brake actuators and define the maximum readjustment limits based on 
the rated stroke and type (size) of the chamber. The committee voted to 
develop this new J-specification to identify maximum readjustment 
limits independently of SAE J1817 and focus the latter on actuator 
long-stroke marking requirements. This project was

[[Page 46637]]

initiated in May 2009, and it is not known when the new recommended 
practice will be published. FMCSA believes that moving forward with 
these amendments at this time will ensure clear guidance is provided to 
motor carriers on the brake adjustment limits, and uniformity in the 
enforcement of those limits.

VI. Regulatory Analyses

Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    This final rule is not a significant regulatory action under 
section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, 
as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, and does not require an 
assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of 
that Order. FMCSA expects the economic impact of this rule to be 
minimal. The proposal affects the conditions under which motor carriers 
are cited for out-of-adjustment brakes during roadside inspections and 
CMVs are placed OOS for such violations. Each brake adjustment 
violation cited during a roadside inspection must be addressed by the 
carrier, and each OOS order results in time lost for the carrier and 
driver because the vehicle may not be operated until the OOS defects 
have been corrected. Consequently, a decrease in OOS violations cited 
during roadside inspections can be considered a benefit of these 
proposed amendments to the readjustment limits because the decrease 
would represent vehicles that are currently being placed out of service 
that do not pose a significant safety risk. Conversely, any increase in 
violations and OOS orders would be a cost as the increase represents 
vehicles that would have been allowed to remain in operation but now 
will be considered a significant safety risk and removed from revenue 
service until the brake adjustment problems are resolved. With respect 
to the safety impact of OOS orders for brake adjustment violations, 
more such orders on vehicles with defects may produce a safety benefit 
by reducing crashes. Neither the petitioners nor the Agency, however, 
are able to estimate whether the number of brake-adjustment violations 
resulting from this rule would increase or decrease by a significant 
amount. It should be noted, however, that FMCSA requires motor carriers 
to maintain their vehicles in safe and proper operating condition at 
all times and to have a systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance 
program to avoid dispatching CMVs with safety defects and deficiencies 
(see, e.g., 49 CFR 396.3(a)(1) and 398.7). Therefore, the potential 
costs of this rule relate only to carrying out the maintenance task 
(e.g., readjusting the brakes or replacing an inoperable slack 
adjuster) at the inspection location rather than at one of the 
carrier's usual maintenance locations.
    From 2000 to 2011, the annual number of Level I and Level V 
roadside inspections of CMVs--the only inspection levels that include 
brake stroke measurement--ranged from about 0.94 to 1.25 million, and 
the percentage of inspections resulting in the CMV being placed OOS for 
brake violations of all kinds ranged from a high of 17 percent to a low 
of 12 percent. Roughly half of these violations concerned out-of-
adjustment brakes, but the Agency believes that the changes in this 
final rule will have relatively little impact on this ratio. By (1) 
removing from Sec.  393.47(e) the cross-reference to the readjustment-
limits tables in SAE J1817 and the requirement that pushrod stroke be 
less than 80 percent of the rated stroke listed in those tables, (2) 
incorporating into Sec.  393.47(e) a set of tables (duplicating those 
in Appendix G) providing explicit readjustment limits, and (3) 
requiring that pushrod stroke be not greater than the values specified 
in those tables, the rule eliminates certain discrepancies between the 
brake readjustment values derived using the ``80 percent of rated 
stroke'' criterion under Sec.  393.47(e) and the values specified in 
the SAE J1817 tables. In addition, these changes make Appendix G 
consistent with Sec.  393.47(e), eliminating confusion in the 
enforcement community and the industry.
    Although substituting the readjustment-limits tables for the cross-
reference to SAE J1817 in Sec.  393.47(e) resolves discrepancies that 
the cross-reference introduced, these differences are in many cases 
quite small. The differences vary according to the type (size) of brake 
chamber. Using the ``80 percent of rated stroke'' criterion may produce 
a value that is either more stringent or less stringent than the value 
specified in SAE J1817. For these reasons, FMCSA anticipates that 
certain brake pushrod stroke measurements that comply with the current 
rule could be out of compliance with the proposed standard--while the 
reverse could just as often be true. On the other hand, having the 
Appendix G amendment mirroring the Sec.  393.47(e) requirement that 
pushrod stroke not be greater than the values specified in the 
readjustment-limits tables would have no effect on the rate of OOS 
violations related to brake stroke status--because roadside inspection 
procedures do not reference the readjustment limits in Appendix G.
    In summary, although FMCSA is unable to estimate the net economic 
and safety impacts of the changes in this rule, the Agency believes 
these impacts will be minimal.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires 
Federal agencies to determine whether proposed rules could have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
FMCSA estimates that the economic impact of this rule will be minimal. 
Consequently, I certify that this proposed action would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rulemaking does not impose an unfunded Federal mandate, as 
defined by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1532 et 
seq.), that will result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $141.3 
million (which is the value of $100 million in 2010 after adjusting for 
inflation) or more in any 1 year.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This proposed action meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) 
and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize 
litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children)

    FMCSA analyzed this action under Executive Order 13045, Protection 
of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. The 
Agency determined that this rulemaking does not pose an environmental 
risk to health or safety that may disproportionately affect children.

Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

    This rulemaking does not effect a taking of private property or 
otherwise have takings implications under Executive Order 12630, 
Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected 
Property Rights.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    A rulemaking has implications for Federalism under Executive Order 
13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or 
local governments and would either preempt

[[Page 46638]]

State law or impose a substantial direct cost of compliance on them. 
FMCSA analyzed this action in accordance with Executive Order 13132. 
The rule does not have a substantial direct effect on States, nor does 
it limit the policymaking discretion of States. Nothing in this 
rulemaking preempts any State law or regulation.

Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding 
intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities do 
not apply to this action.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires 
that FMCSA consider the impact of paperwork and other information 
collection burdens imposed on the public. The Agency has determined 
that this rule imposes no new information collection requirements.

National Environmental Policy Act

    FMCSA analyzed this rule for the purpose of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and 
determined under our environmental procedures Order 5610.1, published 
in the Federal Register on March 1, 2004 (69 FR 9680), that this action 
does not have any effect on the quality of the environment. Therefore, 
this rule is categorically excluded from further analysis and 
documentation in an environmental assessment or environmental impact 
statement under FMCSA Order 5610.1, paragraph 6(bb) of Appendix 2. The 
Categorical Exclusion under paragraph 6(bb) relates to ``regulations 
concerning vehicle operation safety standards,'' such as the amended 
brake inspection standards adopted in this rulemaking. A Categorical 
Exclusion determination is available for inspection or copying in the 
Regulations.gov Web site listed under ADDRESSES.
    FMCSA also analyzed this rule under section 176(c) of the Clean Air 
Act (CAA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), and implementing 
regulations promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency. 
Approval of this action is exempt from the CAA's general conformity 
requirement since it does not affect direct or indirect emissions of 
criteria pollutants.

Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)

    FMCSA analyzed this action under Executive Order 13211, Actions 
Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use. The Agency has determined that it is not a 
``significant energy action'' under that Executive Order because it is 
not economically significant and is not likely to have an adverse 
effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 393

    Highways and roads, Incorporation by reference, Motor carriers, 
Motor vehicle equipment, Motor vehicle safety.

    In consideration of the foregoing, FMCSA amends title 49, Code of 
Federal Regulations, subtitle B, chapter III, as follows:

PART 393 [AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for part 393 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 31136, 31151, and 31502; Sec. 1041(b) of 
Pub. L. 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914, 1993 (1991); and 49 CFR 1.73.


Sec.  393.7  [Amended]

0
2. In Sec.  393.7, remove and reserve paragraph (b)(15).

0
3. Amend Sec.  393.47 by revising paragraph (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  393.47  Brake actuators, slack adjusters, linings/pads, and 
drums/rotors.

* * * * *
    (e) Clamp, Bendix DD-3, bolt-type, and rotochamber brake actuator 
readjustment limits. (1) The pushrod stroke must not be greater than 
the values specified in the following tables:

                        Clamp-Type Brake Chambers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Brake readjustment  Brake readjustment
   Type       Outside diameter     limit: standard    limit: long stroke
                                    stroke chamber          chamber
------------------------------------------------------------------------
6.........  4 \1/2\ in. (114     1 \1/4\ in. (31.8
             mm).                 mm).
9.........  5 \1/4\ in. (133     1 \3/8\ in. (34.9
             mm).                 mm).
12........  5 \11/16\ in. (145   1 \3/8\ in. (34.9    1 \3/4\ in. (44.5
             mm).                 mm).                 mm).
16........  6 \3/8\ in. (162     1 \3/4\ in. (44.5    2 in. (50.8 mm).
             mm).                 mm).
20........  6 \25/32\ in. (172   1 \3/4\ in. (44.5    2 in. (50.8 mm).
             mm).                 mm).                2 \1/2\ in. (63.5
                                                       mm).\1\
24........  7 \7/32\ in. (184    1 \3/4\ in. (44.5    2 in. (50.8 mm).
             mm).                 mm).                2 \1/2\ in. (63.5
                                                       mm).\2\
30........  8 \3/32\ in. (206    2 in. (50.8 mm)....  2 \1/2\ in. (63.5
             mm).                                      mm).
36........  9 in. (229 mm).....  2 \1/4\ in. (57.2
                                  mm).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ For type 20 chambers with a 3-inch (76 mm) rated stroke.
\2\ For type 24 chambers with a 3-inch (76 mm) rated stroke.


                       Bendix DD-3 Brake Chambers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Type             Outside diameter        Brake readjustment limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
30...............  8 \1/8\ in. (206 mm)......  2 \1/4\ in. (57.2 mm).
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                        Bolt-Type Brake Chambers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Type             Outside diameter        Brake readjustment limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A................  6 \15/16\ in. (176 mm)....  1 \3/8\ in. (34.9 mm).
B................  9 \3/16\ in. (234 mm).....  1 \3/4\ in. (44.5 mm).
C................  8 \1/16\ in. (205 mm).....  1 \3/4\ in. (44.5 mm).
D................  5 \1/4\ in. (133 mm)......  1 \1/4\ in. (31.8 mm).
E................  6 \3/16\ in. (157 mm).....  1 \3/8\ in. (34.9 mm).

[[Page 46639]]

 
F................  11 in. (279 mm)...........  2 \1/4\ in. (57.2 mm).
G................  9 \7/8\ in. (251 mm)......  2 in. (50.8 mm).
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                     Rotochamber-Type Brake Chambers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Type             Outside diameter        Brake readjustment limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
9................  4 \9/32\ in. (109 mm).....  1 \1/2\ in. (38.1 mm).
12...............  4 \13/16\ in. (122 mm)....  1 \1/2\ in. (38.1 mm).
16...............  5 \13/32\ in. (138 mm)....  2 in. (50.8 mm).
20...............  5 \15/16\ in. (151 mm)....  2 in. (50.8 mm).
24...............  6 \13/32\ in. (163 mm)....  2 in. (50.8 mm).
30...............  7 \1/16\ in. (180 mm).....  2 \1/4\ in. (57.2 mm).
36...............  7 \5/8\ in. (194 mm)......  2 \3/4\ in. (69.9 mm).
50...............  8 \7/8\ in. (226 mm)......  3 in. (76.2 mm).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (2) For actuator types not listed in these tables, the pushrod 
stroke must not be greater than 80 percent of the rated stroke marked 
on the actuator by the actuator manufacturer, or greater than the 
readjustment limit marked on the actuator by the actuator manufacturer.
* * * * *

0
4. Amend Sec.  393.53 by revising paragraphs (b) and (c) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  393.53  Automatic brake adjusters and brake adjustment 
indicators.

* * * * *
    (b) Automatic brake adjusters (air brake systems). Each commercial 
motor vehicle manufactured on or after October 20, 1994, and equipped 
with an air brake system must meet the automatic brake adjustment 
system requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 121 
(49 CFR 571.121, S5.1.8 or S5.2.2) applicable to the vehicle at the 
time it was manufactured.
    (c) Brake adjustment indicator (air brake systems). On each 
commercial motor vehicle manufactured on or after October 20, 1994, and 
equipped with an air brake system which contains an external automatic 
adjustment mechanism and an exposed pushrod, the condition of service 
brake under-adjustment must be displayed by a brake adjustment 
indicator conforming to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standard No. 121 (49 CFR 571.121, S5.1.8 or S5.2.2) applicable 
to the vehicle at the time it was manufactured.

0
5. Amend Appendix G to Subchapter B by revising paragraph 1.a(5) to 
read as follows:

Appendix G to Subchapter B of Chapter III--Minimum Periodic Inspection 
Standards

* * * * *
    1 * * *
    a. * * *
    (5) Readjustment limits. (a) The maximum pushrod stroke must not 
be greater than the values given in the tables below and at Sec.  
393.47(e). Any brake stroke exceeding the readjustment limit will be 
rejected. Stroke must be measured with engine off and reservoir 
pressure of 80 to 90 psi with brakes fully applied.

                        Clamp-Type Brake Chambers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Brake readjustment  Brake readjustment
   Type       Outside diameter     limit: standard    limit: long stroke
                                    stroke chamber          chamber
------------------------------------------------------------------------
6.........  4 \1/2\ in. (114     1 \1/4\ in. (31.8
             mm).                 mm).
9.........  5 \1/4\ in. (133     1 \3/8\ in. (34.9
             mm).                 mm).
12........  5 \11/16\ in. (145   1 \3/8\ in. (34.9    1 \3/4\ in. (44.5
             mm).                 mm).                 mm).
16........  6 \3/8\ in. (162     1 \3/4\ in. (44.5    2 in. (50.8 mm).
             mm).                 mm).
20........  6 \25/32\ in. (172   1 \3/4\ in. (44.5    2 in. (50.8 mm).
             mm).                 mm).                2 \1/2\ in. (63.5
                                                       mm).\1\
24........  7 \7/32\ in. (184    1 \3/4\ in. (44.5    2 in. (50.8 mm).
             mm).                 mm).                2 \1/2\ in. (63.5
                                                       mm).\2\
30........  8 \3/32\ in. (206    2 in. (50.8 mm)....  2 \1/2\ in. (63.5
             mm).                                      mm).
36........  9 in. (229 mm).....  2 \1/4\ in. (57.2
                                  mm).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ For type 20 chambers with a 3-inch (76 mm) rated stroke.
\2\ For type 24 chambers with a 3-inch (76 mm) rated stroke.


                       Bendix DD-3 Brake Chambers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Type             Outside diameter        Brake readjustment limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
30...............  8 \1/8\ in. (206 mm)......  2 \1/4\ in. (57.2 mm).
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 46640]]


                        Bolt-Type Brake Chambers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Type             Outside diameter        Brake readjustment limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A................  6 \15/16\ in. (176 mm)....  1 \3/8\ in. (34.9 mm).
B................  9 \3/16\ in. (234 mm).....  1 \3/4\ in. (44.5mm).
C................  8 \1/16\ in. (205 mm).....  1 \3/4\ in. (44.5 mm).
D................  5 \1/4\ in. (133 mm)......  1 \1/4\ in. (31.8 mm).
E................  6 \3/16\ in. (157 mm).....  1 \3/8\ in. (34.9 mm).
F................  11 in. (279 mm)...........  2 \1/4\ in. (57.2 mm).
G................  9 \7/8\ in. (251 mm)......  2 in. (50.8 mm).
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                     Rotochamber-Type Brake Chambers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Type             Outside diameter        Brake readjustment limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
9................  4 \9/32\ in. (109 mm).....  1 \1/2\ in. (38.1 mm).
12...............  4 \13/16\ in. (122 mm)....  1 \1/2\ in. (38.1 mm).
16...............  5 \13/32\ in. (138 mm)....  2 in. (50.8 mm).
20...............  5 \15/16\ in. (151 mm)....  2 in. (50.8 mm).
24...............  6 \13/32\ in. (163 mm)....  2 in. (50.8 mm).
30...............  7 \1/16\ in. (180 mm).....  2\1/4\ in. (57.2 mm).
36...............  7 \5/8\ in. (194 mm)......  2 \3/4\ in. (69.9 mm).
50...............  8 \7/8\ in. (226 mm)......  3 in. (76.2 mm).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (b) For actuator types not listed in these tables, the pushrod 
stroke must not be greater than 80 percent of the rated stroke 
marked on the actuator by the actuator manufacturer, or greater than 
the readjustment limit marked on the actuator by the actuator 
manufacturer.
* * * * *

    Issued on: July 27, 2012.
William Bronrott,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2012-18899 Filed 8-3-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P



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