Brakes

§47-12-301. Brake equipment required.

A. Every motor vehicle manufactured prior to September 1, 1961, when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold such vehicle, including two separate means of applying the brakes, each of which means shall be effective to apply the brakes to at least two wheels. If these two separate means of applying the brakes are connected in any way they shall be so constructed that failure of any one part of the operating mechanism shall not leave the motor vehicle without brakes on at least two wheels.

B. 1. Every motor vehicle manufactured on or after September 1, 1961, operated upon the highways shall be equipped with service brakes upon all wheels.

2. A truck or truck-tractor having three or more axles need not be equipped with brakes on the front axle if:

  1. the vehicle was manufactured on or before July 24, 1980, or
  2. the vehicle was manufactured on or after July 25, 1980, but no later than October 26, 1986, and the brake components have not been removed. If the brake components have been removed, the vehicle shall be retrofitted to meet the requirements of this section.

C. 1. Every trailer, semitrailer, and pole trailer of a gross vehicle weight rating of three thousand (3,000) pounds or more when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with brakes:

  1. adequate to control the movement of and to stop and to hold such vehicle,
  2. so designated as to be applied by the driver of the towing motor vehicle from its cab. Provided, braking systems commonly known as “surge brakes” shall be lawful when used on a trailer which is towing or transporting a vessel or vessels, and
  3. so designed and connected that in case of an accidental breakaway of the towed vehicle the brakes shall be automatically applied.

2. Every trailer, semitrailer, and pole trailer required to be equipped with brakes, except motor vehicles engaged in drive-away tow-away operations as provided in 49 C.F.R., Part 393.42, shall be equipped with brakes which are designed to be applied automatically and promptly upon break-away from the towing vehicle, and means shall be provided to maintain application of the brakes on the trailer in such a case for at least fifteen (15) minutes.

3. Any trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer having a gross vehicle weight rating of less than three thousand (3,000) pounds need not be equipped with brakes; provided, the trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer shall be equipped with brakes if the weight of the towed vehicle exceeds forty percent (40%) of the gross vehicle weight rating of the towing vehicle.

D. Every motor vehicle and every combination of vehicles shall be equipped with a parking brake system adequate to hold the vehicle or combination on any grade on which it is operated under all conditions of loading, on a surface free from snow, ice, or loose material.

E. The braking system on the rear axle of any motor vehicle may be used for both service brake and parking brake operation.

F. 1. Air brake systems installed on towed vehicles manufactured shall be designed as provided in 49 C.F.R., Section 393.43.

2. Every truck or truck-tractor, if used to tow a trailer equipped with brakes, shall be equipped with service brakes as provided in 49 C.F.R., Section 393.43.

3. Every truck or truck tractor equipped with air brakes, when used to tow another vehicle equipped with full air brakes, in operations other than drive-away or tow-away, shall, in addition to the above, be equipped with two means of activating the emergency features of the trailer brakes as provided in 49 C.F.R., Section 393.43.

4. Every motor vehicle which is equipped with power brakes, shall comply with 49 C.F.R., Section 393.49.

5. Every truck tractor and truck used for towing other vehicles equipped with vacuum brakes, in operations other than drive-away tow-away, on and after September 1, 1961, shall, in addition to other requirements of state and federal law, comply with 49 C.F.R., Section 393.43.

G. Every bus, truck, and truck-tractor which is equipped with an air or vacuum brake system, shall be equipped with a reservoir as required by 49 C.F.R., Section 393.50, sufficient to insure a brake application capable of stopping the vehicle within the stopping distance requirements of Section 12-302 of this title in the event the engine stops.

H. Every bus, truck and truck-tractor shall be equipped with service brake warning devices and signals as required by 49 C.F.R., Part 393.51.

I. All brakes shall be maintained in good working order and shall be so adjusted as to operate as equally as practicable with respect to the wheels on opposite sides of the vehicle. The brakes shall be capable of stopping the vehicle, or a combination of vehicles, within the stopping distance requirements of Section 12-302 of this title.

Added by Laws 1961, p. 403, §12-301, eff. Sept. 1, 1961. Amended by Laws 1967, c. 140, §5, emerg. eff. April 27, 1967; Laws 2001, c. 131, §9, eff. July 1, 2001; Laws 2003, c. 411, §47, eff. Nov. 1, 2003; Laws 2005, c. 50, §10, eff. Nov. 1, 2005.

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