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Bendix urges drivers to prepare for Brake Safety Week, offers checklist



Brake Safety Week inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I inspection, covering a range of driver qualifications, documentation, and vehicle equipment conditions. Other brake system points of interest include mismatched air chamber sizes across axles, and warning device functionality, including antilock braking system indicator lights. (Courtesy: BENDIX)

ELYRIA, Ohio — On a single day this past May, nearly 1,700 commercial vehicles were taken off the roads of North America because of brake system safety violations: Consider for a moment if just half of those – or a quarter, or even just one – had been unable to stop in a critical situation because of a brake system that wasn’t in good operating condition. That kind of moment is exactly why Bendix (Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC) works to help fleets and owner-operators prepare for events like Brake Safety Week 2019, which will take place September 15-21.

Part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Airbrake, Brake Safety Week is an outreach and enforcement campaign that aims to reduce the number of crashes caused or made more severe by faulty brake systems on commercial motor vehicles. Inspections on large trucks and buses will be conducted by local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials in the United States and Canada. Bendix, a North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles, supports the CVSA’s goals of improving vehicle safety throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“What’s at stake is more than just avoiding noncompliance penalties and out-of-service time – although those are certainly of importance,” said Barbara Gould, Bendix director of corporate communications. “The most important reason we stress preparation for inspection periods like Brake Safety Week is because drivers need to be able to depend on their brakes every moment of every mile. And even as advanced safety technologies like full stability and collision mitigation enhance a vehicle, those systems still require brakes in good working condition to support drivers and perform at their best.”

On May 15, during an unannounced inspection blitz in the United States and Canada, CVSA law enforcement members conducted 10,358 commercial motor vehicle inspections focused on identifying brake system violations. Of those vehicles inspected, 1,667 (16.1 percent) were placed out of service due to critical brake-related violations. This year’s Brake Safety Week includes a special focus on brake hoses/tubing. May’s inspections found 1,125 violations that included chafed hoses, and 124 that included kinked hoses. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s data for the first half of 2019, brake hose or tubing chafing and/or kinking accounted for nearly 38,000 inspection violations.

“Hoses and tubing affect the performance of an entire braking system, so it’s important that they’re in good shape and free of kinks,” said Brian Screeton, Bendix supervisor for technical service training. “Checking their condition, positioning and connections should be a regular part of any visual inspection, both during pre-trip walk-arounds and in the shop. Additionally, we recommend that every driver makes performing regular 90- to 100-psi brake applications and listening for leaks part of their preparation before getting on the road.”

Other pre-trip and preventive maintenance items directly related to Brake Safety Week inspections include:

  • Daily visual checks for damaged or loose-hanging air chambers, pushrods or slack adjusters. (Note that slack adjusters on each axle should be extended out to the same angle: If not, it could indicate an out-of-adjustment brake or a broken spring brake power spring.)
  • Weekly checks of air disc brake rotors for cracks, and lining wear on drum brakes.
  • Monthly checks for moisture in the air system. (Contamination can lead to deterioration of air seals, brake-modulating valves, and brake chamber diaphragms, leading to system leaks.)
  • Regular greasing of S-cam brake tubes and automatic slack adjusters to prevent rust and corrosion.

Proper brake adjustment is also a part of CVSA roadside inspections and should be addressed in the shop in advance of the event. While air disc brakes include an internal adjustment mechanism, drum braked wheel-ends will need to have their brake stroke measured.

“Measuring the chamber stroke involves checking the distance from the air chamber to the clevis pin with the brakes released, and again after a fully charged brake application,” said Keith McComsey, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake director of marketing and customer solutions – Wheel-End. “Drivers can incur fines if the difference between those two measurements – the chamber stroke – is outside allowable limits on 25 percent of a truck’s wheel-ends.”

The Bendix technical support team has developed an infographic (shown above) to note differing maintenance needs of air disc and drum brakes.

Brake Safety Week inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I inspection, covering a range of driver qualifications, documentation, and vehicle equipment conditions. Other brake system points of interest include mismatched air chamber sizes across axles, and warning device functionality, including antilock braking system indicator lights. Fourteen Brake Safety Week inspection jurisdictions will also be using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) to measure vehicle braking efficiency.

In addition to short-term preparation for inspections, there are long-term paths available for ensuring healthy braking systems and properly functioning technologies.

The right wheel-end friction selection is one example: Not all replacement linings marketed as acceptable for federal stopping distance requirements will actually perform to the standard, and the wrong choice may lead to cracks, missing pieces or degradation – any of which can earn violations during a roadside inspection.

In addition, when replacing drum brake shoes, choose remanufactured shoes that have been coined back to their original OEM-engineered shape over those that have simply been relined. Even normal brake usage affects the shape of a shoe, and relining it – rather than coining – can lead to reduced stopping power and premature wear.

Because oil aerosols entering an air brake system can be particularly corrosive, Bendix advises using an oil-coalescing air dryer cartridge like the Bendix PuraGuard. Oil-coalescing cartridges can be used to replace standard cartridges, but never vice-versa.

“Today’s commercial vehicles and their safety systems are more proven and effective than ever – but it takes professional technicians and drivers dedicated to safer roads to help keep them running smoothly,” Gould said. “And there’s a lot to keep track of – that’s why our team works to support those efforts and shares its expertise through in-person programs and online resources: Because we’re shaping tomorrow’s transportation together, and everyone benefits when we’re all focused on safety.”

Through industry technical leadership, unparalleled post-sales support, and an ever-growing portfolio of technology developments, Bendix delivers on safety, vehicle performance, and efficiency, supporting areas critical to fleets’ success. In striving to lower the total cost of vehicle ownership, Bendix helps strengthen return on investment in equipment and technology that enhance safety for all drivers and passengers who share North America’s roads.

For more information about Bendix air brake systems and technologies, call 800-AIR-BRAKE (800-247-2725) or visit

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Truck-Lite integrates PSI tire management solutions into Road Ready system



Pressure Systems International is a global provider of onboard tire management systems for commercial and recreational vehicles. P.S.I.’s portfolio includes automatic tire inflation systems (ATIS) for commercial trailers, tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and related products. (Courtesy: TRUCK-LITE)

FALCONER, N.Y. – Truck-Lite Co., LLC, a worldwide leader in LED lighting, telematics, engine protection, safety and visibility systems, has integrated Pressure Systems International (PSI) automatic tire inflation and tire pressure monitoring systems data into the Road Ready system via its SmartBridge Integrator (SBI).

Released in 2018, the SBI bridges OE trailer systems with the Road Ready network, which communicates crucial trailer data to a fleet dispatcher and provides greater insight into a trailer environment. The recent integration with PSI allows any fleet to access critical tire data and avoid downtime by taking preventive action.

“Working with PSI to develop this technology brings us a step closer to a smart-trailer reality,” said Rob Richard, general manager of Truck-Lite’s Road Ready division. “We look forward to continued collaboration with PSI to deliver even more enhanced data to fleets.”

The SBI will transmit data from both the PSI Trailer ATIS and TireView TPMS, which work together to provide critical data regarding tire health. The integration with Road Ready makes this data available to a fleet’s back office through the Road Ready user interface.

“Our ATIS and TPMS solutions allow fleets to improve uptime and lower CSA scores while simultaneously allowing the driver to focus on driving and optimizing their hours of service (HOS),” said Jonathan Gravell, vice president of business development for PSI. “Integrating PSI systems into Road Ready helps fleets to drive down operating costs and diagnose issues before they become real problems.”

The Road Ready system by Truck-Lite is the leading wireless, multi-functional trailer monitoring network and is easily customizable for any fleet requirement. With its suite of wireless sensors and the largest number of OE trailer system and fleet software integrations, Road Ready provides the most comprehensive and inclusive fleet telematics solution available.

For more information, visit


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Volvo Trucks brings Volvo Dynamic Steering to North American market



Volvo Dynamic Steering is an ultra-responsive steering system designed to help reduce driver fatigue and increase road safety. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Volvo Dynamic Steering (VDS), what the company describes as a world-class technical innovation, is an ultra-responsive steering system designed to lessen steering force up to 85%, helping reduce driver fatigue and increase road safety.

VDS will be available as an option in the Volvo VNL and VNR models in early 2020.

“Drivers are the trucking industry’s biggest assets, and opportunities to increase driver recruitment and retention are top-of-mind for our customers,” said Chris Stadler, product marketing manager, Volvo Trucks North America. “Providing state-of-the-art features that improve drivers’ physical working conditions and comfort is an important aspect of driver satisfaction, as well as increasing overall productivity and road safety.”

VDS is an active steering system that features an electric motor mounted on top of the hydraulic steering gear. Input from multiple vehicle sensors, at over 2,000 times per second, determine the appropriate steering wheel response. The system continuously monitors drivers’ actions, environmental factors and road conditions faster than the blink of an eye. The motor provides additional torque when needed to keep the truck safely on the road. This supports driver reactions with greater control and less abrupt maneuvering, Stadler said.

First launched by Volvo Trucks in Europe, VDS is ideal for diverse and changing terrains and automatically adjusts to handle any roadway condition. From rough roads to tight maneuvers in urban environments, VDS can help drivers navigate unexpected situations such as pot holes and rapid tire deflations, providing up to nine ft.-lb. of torque in the steering column.

Stadler said key VDS features include:

  • Vehicle Stability Control leads to increased directional stability on the highway, which offers a more relaxed and safe driving experience with full control at all speeds.
  • Return-to-Center, or Zero Return enables the steering wheel to return to the center position when the vehicle is in motion, making it easier to reverse the vehicle and maneuver in tight areas.
  • Dampening allows the steering system to filter inputs from the road surface and, based on feedback from multiple sensors, helps improve handling and vehicle stability.
  • Lead/Pull Compensation provides a torque offset within the steering system to compensate for crowned roads, steady crosswinds and other short-term conditions that can affect handling.

With more controlled steering, VDS helps reduce operational fatigue by filtering road vibration and noise through the steering wheel, Stadler said, adding that repetitive motions because of varying roadway conditions and maneuvering actions could cause physical discomfort, which can be lessened when using this system. In fact, testing has shown that VDS has the potential to cut muscular strain by up to 30% and for some specific motions, strain can be reduced up to 70%.

“Volvo Trucks’ new feature brings value and support to our customers and professional drivers,” Stadler said. “With the VDS system, we see increased productivity for our customers and decreased fatigue for drivers. In addition, it contributes to improved stability and control of the vehicle, thereby increasing road safety.”







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Production starts on Freightliner Cascadia with advanced safety solutions



A Daimler Trucks North America official said the new Freightliner Cascadia with advanced safety solutions and aerodynamic enhancements provides customers with a vehicle that is safer, more fuel efficient and offers a better driver experience than ever before. (Courtesy: DAIMLER TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA )

PORTLAND, Ore. — Production of the Freightliner Cascadia with enhanced safety and aerodynamic solutions has begun.

A Daimler Trucks North America official said the new truck provides customers with a vehicle that is safer, more fuel efficient and offers a better driver experience than ever before.

Kelly Gedert, director of product marketing for Freightliner Trucks and Detroit Components, said Detroit Assurance 5.0 is now standard with Freightliner Cascadias powered by Detroit engines.

He said this proprietary radar and camera fused system features standard active safety and advanced driver assistance technologies designed to keep drivers, other motorists and pedestrians safe, including:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control to 0 MPH: Automatically decelerates and accelerates to maintain a safe following distance. In stop-and-go-traffic, if the vehicle in front stops, the truck will also come to a stop and hold indefinitely. If the vehicle ahead moves in less than two seconds, the truck will resume moving at a safe following distance.
  • Active Brake Assist 5.0 – Full Braking on Moving Pedestrian: When a moving pedestrian enters the truck’s path, Detroit Assurance 5.0 applies input from the radar and camera sensors to warn the driver using visual and audible warnings simultaneously with partial emergency braking. If the driver doesn’t act, full emergency braking brings the truck to a complete stop.

Additionally, new standard features with Detroit Assurance 5.0 include automatic wipers/headlamps, Intelligent High Beam, and traffic sign display.

Gedert said Side Guard Assist is an optional feature available with Detroit Assurance 5.0 that detects objects, including pedestrians and cyclists, in the passenger-side blind spot along the full length of the tractor and trailer.

“Helping keep motorists and pedestrians safe is our top priority, and the advanced technologies and groundbreaking innovations of Detroit Assurance 5.0 can help mitigate collisions and reduce unplanned expenses and downtime for our customers,” Gedert said. “Detroit Assurance 5.0 illustrates our commitment to increasing safety for everyone on the road.”

Active Lane Assist, an optional feature available in early 2020, consists of Lane Departure Protection and Lane Keep Assist. With Lane Departure Protection, if the truck begins to drift from its lane without the turn signal activated, a rumble sound, along with a visual warning, will alert the driver. The system will then counter steer the truck back into its lane. When Adaptive Cruise Control is enabled, Lane Keep Assist uses micro-steering movements to keep the new Cascadia centered in its detected lane. With the addition of lateral steering assist offered by the optional Active Lane Assist feature, in combination with Adaptive Cruise Control, Freightliner and Detroit will begin delivering the first production SAE Level 2 automated truck in North America.

Gedert  said enhancements to all three aerodynamic packages for the Cascadia further improve the Cascadia’s industry-leading fuel performance. The Standard package now includes A-pillar deflectors, tow hook covers and side extender seals. The Aero package adds enhanced chassis fairing skirts and the AeroX package features an optimized low ground clearance bumper, optimized roof deflector, optimized drive wheel fairings and front wheel well closeouts.

Additional aerodynamic options available include the industry first Aerodynamic Height Control, which electronically lowers the suspension height one inch at 55 miles per hour to optimize airflow over and under the front of the truck and reduce drag. Michelin X Line D+ Energy tires, developed in collaboration with Michelin and exclusive to the Cascadia, are also available and reduce rolling resistance in 6×4 applications. All of the new aerodynamic features available on Cascadia provide up to a five percent increase in fuel efficiency over the current model.

“Our new aerodynamic options demonstrate our dedication to helping our customers achieve the best possible performance from their trucks,” Gedert said. “Freightliner continues to set the bar higher when it comes to designing features that provide better performance and enhanced efficiency.”

Critical to the Cascadia’s performance is the Integrated Detroit Powertrain. The powerful combination of either Detroit DD15 or DD13 engines, the Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission, and Detroit axles seamlessly works together to maximize performance.

A key update for the Cascadia from Detroit is Intelligent Powertrain Management 6 (IPM6), which comes standard with the DT12. Like earlier IPM technology, IPM6 integrates pre-loaded terrain maps and GPS into engine and transmission functions to know the route ahead and uses the truck’s kinetic energy to automatically adjust to its surroundings by reducing braking power and making transmission and engine adjustments. With the introduction of IPM6, map coverage of existing major highways and interstates has increased by 35%.

Gedert  said another benefit of the powerful combination of Cascadia and Detroit designed to improve uptime is the Cascadia Maintenance System. This onboard monitoring system computes optimal maintenance intervals based on actual operating conditions of the vehicle. The system utilizes oil temperature data and other inputs to more accurately determine oil change intervals, and it improves additional service recommendations based on engine and transmission load data.



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