Tire Technologies Improve Safety and Lower Costs
One of the many regulatory challenges facing Great Dane customers is to meet the new rules included in the new safety scoring system from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) known as CSA (Comprehensive Safety Analysis). The CSA methodology covers seven BASICs (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories), including one for vehicle maintenance. In that area, tires are a main focus, including those on trailers.
FMCSA has attached a violation severity number to be used in calculating a carrier's safety score. Depending on the specific tire issue, violations that carry a severity rating include a flat tire or fabric exposed; ply or belt material exposed; tread and/or sidewall separation, flat tire and/or audible air leak, cut exposing ply and/or belt material, and trailer or dolly tire tread depth less than 2/32-in.
An effective pre-trip vehicle inspection that includes tires should identify these high severity violations. At the same time, a leading violation that carries a severity rating is for a tire that is underinflated based on load. Tire technologies offered by Great Dane can help address and prevent this common problem.
Leading that list are tire pressure monitoring and automatic inflation systems, which can be added to new Great Dane trailer specifications. These systems continuously monitor and adjust tire pressure by inflating or deflating tires based on changing environmental conditions, as well as balancing tire pressures at every wheel position.
Tire pressure monitoring and inflation systems draw from the trailer air supply to keep tires properly inflated by directing air to tires that fall below a preset pressure level. If ambient temperature increases, the systems will relieve air to prevent over inflation. Pressure protection valves in the systems ensure air is available for braking systems, and check valves in tire hoses prevent loss of air pressure from other tires. The systems also alert drivers with signal lights when a tire requires attention.
Commercial trailer tires are designed for long tread life and good fuel economy.Whether specified on new Great Dane trailers or retrofitted on existing equipment, automatic tire inflation and tire pressure monitoring systems have measurable benefits for fleets. Included is improved fuel economy from maintaining proper inflation pressures and enhanced safety by eliminating potential problems. Lower costs from these systems are derived from a reduction in labor associated with checking tires, avoiding costly breakdowns, lower fuel expenses and improved tread life.