Brakes

§547.401. BRAKES REQUIRED.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, pole trailer, or combination of those vehicles shall be equipped with brakes that comply with this chapter.

(b) A trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer is not required to have brakes if:

(1) its gross weight is 4,500 pounds or less; or

(2) its gross weight is heavier than 4,500 pounds but not heavier than 15,000 pounds, and it is drawn at a speed of not more than 30 miles per hour.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, §1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§547.402. OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF BRAKES.

(a) Required brakes shall operate on each wheel of a vehicle except:

(1) special mobile equipment;

(2) a vehicle that is towed as a commodity when at least one set of the towed vehicle's wheels is on the roadway, if the combination of vehicles complies with the performance requirements of this chapter; and

(3) a trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer with a gross weight heavier than 4,500 pounds but not heavier than 15,000 pounds drawn at a speed of more than 30 miles per hour, if the brakes operate on both wheels of the rear axle.

(b) A truck or truck-tractor that has at least three axles is not required to have brakes on the front wheels, but must have brakes that:

(1) operate on the wheels of one steerable axle if the vehicle is equipped with at least two steerable axles; and

(2) comply with the performance requirements of this chapter.

(c) A trailer or semitrailer that has a gross weight of 15,000 pounds or less may use surge or inertia brake systems to satisfy the requirements of Subsection (a).

(d) Brakes shall be maintained in good working order and adjusted to operate on wheels on each side of the vehicle as equally as practicable.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, §1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§547.403. SERVICE BRAKES REQUIRED.

(a) A vehicle required to have brakes by this subchapter, other than special mobile equipment, shall be equipped with service brakes that:

(1) comply with the performance requirements of this subchapter; and

(2) are adequate to control the movement of the vehicle, including stopping and holding, under all loading conditions and when on any grade on which the vehicle is operated.

(b) A vehicle required to have brakes by this subchapter shall be equipped so that one control device operates the service brakes. This subsection does not prohibit an additional control device that may be used to operate brakes on a towed vehicle. A vehicle that tows another vehicle as a commodity when at least one set of the towed vehicle's wheels is on the roadway is not required to comply with this requirement unless the brakes on the towing and towed vehicles are designed to be operated by a single control on the towing vehicle.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, §1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§547.404. PARKING BRAKES REQUIRED.

(a) A vehicle required to have brakes by this subchapter, other than a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, shall be equipped with parking brakes adequate to hold the vehicle:

(1) on any grade on which the vehicle is operated;

(2) under all loading conditions; and

(3) on a surface free from snow, ice, or loose material.

(b) The parking brakes shall be:

(1) designed to operate continuously as required once applied, despite a leakage or an exhaustion of power source; and

(2) activated by the vehicle operator's muscular effort, by spring action, or by equivalent means.

(c) The parking brakes may be assisted by the service brakes or by another power source, unless a failure in the power source would prevent the parking brakes from operating as required by this section.

(d) The same brake drums, brake shoes and lining assemblies, brake shoe anchors, and mechanical brake shoe actuation mechanism normally associated with wheel brake assemblies may be used for the parking brakes and service brakes.

(e) If the means of applying the parking brakes and service brakes are connected, the brake system shall be constructed so that the failure of one part will not cause the vehicle to be without operative brakes.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, §1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§547.405. EMERGENCY BRAKES REQUIRED.

(a) A vehicle used to tow another vehicle equipped with air-controlled brakes shall be equipped with the following means, together or separate, for applying the trailer brakes in an emergency:

(1) an automatic device that applies the brakes to a fixed pressure from 20 to 45 pounds per square inch if the towing vehicle's air supply is reduced; and

(2) a manual device to apply and release the brakes that is readily operable by a person seated in the operator's seat and arranged so that:

(A) its emergency position or method of operation is clearly indicated; and

(B) its use does not prevent operation of the automatic brakes.

(b) In addition to the single control device required by Section 547.403, a vehicle used to tow another vehicle equipped with vacuum brakes shall be equipped with a second control device that:

(1) is used to operate the brakes on a towed vehicle in an emergency;

(2) is independent of brake air, hydraulic, or other pressure and independent of other controls, unless the braking system is arranged to automatically apply the towed vehicle's brakes if the pressure for the second control device on the towing vehicle fails; and

(3) is not required to provide modulated braking.

(c) Subsections (a) and (b) do not apply to a vehicle that tows another vehicle as a commodity when at least one set of wheels of the towed vehicle is on the roadway.

(d) A trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer that is equipped with air or vacuum brakes or that has a gross weight heavier than 3,000 pounds shall be equipped with brakes that:

(1) operate on all wheels; and

(2) are promptly applied automatically and remain applied for at least 15 minutes in case of a breakaway from the towing vehicle.

(e) A motor vehicle used to tow a trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer equipped with brakes shall be equipped with service brakes arranged so that, in case of a breakaway of the towed vehicle, the towing vehicle is capable of stopping by use of its service brakes.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, §1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§547.406. BRAKE RESERVOIR OR RESERVE CAPACITY REQUIRED.

(a) A bus, truck, or truck-tractor equipped with air brakes shall be equipped with at least one reservoir that:

(1) is sufficient to ensure that the service brakes can be fully applied without lowering the reservoir pressure, if fully charged to the maximum pressure as regulated by the air compressor governor cut-out setting, by more than 20 percent; and

(2) has a means for readily draining accumulated oil or water.

(b) A truck with at least three axles that is equipped with vacuum brakes or a truck-tractor or truck used to tow a vehicle equipped with vacuum brakes shall be equipped with a reserve capacity or a vacuum reservoir sufficient to ensure that, with the reserve capacity or vacuum reservoir fully charged and with the engine stopped, the service brakes can be fully applied without depleting the vacuum supply by more than 40 percent.

(c) A motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer that is equipped with an air or vacuum reservoir or reserve capacity shall be equipped with a check valve or equivalent device to prevent depletion of the air or vacuum supply by failure or leakage.

(d) An air brake system installed on a trailer shall be designed to prevent a back flow of air from the supply reservoir through the supply line.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, §1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§547.407. BRAKE WARNING DEVICES REQUIRED.

(a) A bus, truck, or truck-tractor that uses air to operate its brakes or the brakes of a towed vehicle shall be equipped with:

(1) a warning signal, other than a pressure gauge, that is readily audible or visible to the vehicle operator and that shows when the air reservoir pressure is below 50 percent of the air compressor governor cut-out pressure; and

(2) a pressure gauge visible to the vehicle operator that shows in pounds per square inch the pressure available for braking.

(b) A truck-tractor or truck used to tow a vehicle equipped with vacuum brakes, or a truck with at least three axles that is equipped with vacuum brakes, shall be equipped with a warning signal, other than a gauge showing vacuum, that is readily audible or visible to the vehicle operator and that shows when the vacuum in the reservoir or reserve capacity is less than eight inches of mercury. This subsection does not apply to an operation in which a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer is transported as a commodity when at least one set of the vehicle's wheels is on the roadway.

(c) If a vehicle required to be equipped with a warning device is equipped with air and vacuum power to operate its brakes or the brakes on a towed vehicle, the warning devices required may be combined into a single device that is not a pressure or vacuum gauge.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, §1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§547.408. PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR BRAKES.

(a) A motor vehicle or combination of vehicles shall be equipped with service brakes capable of:

(1) developing a braking force that is not less than:

(A) 52.8 percent of the gross weight of the vehicle for a passenger vehicle; or

(B) 43.5 percent of the gross weight of the vehicle for a vehicle other than a passenger vehicle;

(2) decelerating to a stop from 20 miles per hour or less at not less than:

(A) 17 feet per second per second for a passenger vehicle;or

(B) 14 feet per second per second for other vehicles; and

(3) stopping from a speed of 20 miles per hour in a distance, measured from the location where the service brake pedal or control is activated, of not more than:

(A) 25 feet for a passenger vehicle;

(B) 30 feet for a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or single unit vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less;

(C) 40 feet for:

(i) a single unit vehicle with a manufacturer's gross weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds;

(ii) a two-axle towing vehicle and trailer combination with a weight of 3,000 pounds or less;

(iii) a bus that does not have a manufacturer's gross weight rating; and

(iv) the combination of vehicles in an operation exempted by Section 547.407(b); and

(D) 50 feet for other vehicles.

(b) A test for deceleration or stopping distance shall be performed on a dry, smooth, hard surface that:

(1) is free of loose material; and

(2) does not exceed plus or minus one percent grade.

(c) In this section, "passenger vehicle" means a vehicle that has a maximum seating capacity of 10 persons, including the operator, and that does not have a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, §1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

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