What are the safety advantages of using air disc brakes?


Air disc brakes (ADB) are now standard for many new trucks built after 2018 and can be ordered on either the steer or drive axles, or both. ADB can also be ordered for most trailer types. From a safety standpoint, ADB can help reduce the risk of rear-end crashes. According to Fleet Equipment Magazine, “The main strong point for disc brakes (over drum brakes) is reduced stopping distance. With disc brakes, that distance can be anywhere from 17% to 33% shorter than drum brakes, depending on speed.”

Other advantages of using ADB include:

  • No brake fade caused by heating up the brakes due to excessive usage.

  • Generally less maintenance, although not maintenance-free.

  • No slack-adjuster-related “out of adjustment” violations from roadside inspections.

  • Longer life before replacement.

  • Use of a caliper/pad mechanism, compared to the lining/drum/S-cam mechanism found on drum brakes.

    Consider the type of operation you run before choosing the equipment to best fit your needs.


Try Great West Casualty Company’s Learning Library. Here are some short videos to help you address this topic:

  • CSA Minutes > Failure to Conduct a Pre-trip Inspection

  • CSA Minutes > Inoperative/Defective Brakes – 393.48(a)

  • Equipment & Maintenance Violation Prevention > Pre-Trip Approach and Maintenance

  • Equipment & Maintenance Violation Prevention > Pre/Post-Trip Component Inspection

  • Equipment & Maintenance Violation Prevention > Roadside Vehicle Inspection Cheatsheet


Assign drivers Learning Library training videos on brake inspections. 

• Measure the number of preventable equipment violations and take corrective actions. 

• Hold drivers and mechanics responsible for preventable equipment violations. 


The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.

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© Great West Casualty Company 2021. The material in this publication is the property of Great West Casualty Company unless otherwise noted and may not be reproduced without its written consent by any person other than a current insured of Great West Casualty Company for business purposes. Insured should attribute use as follows: “© Great West Casualty Company 2020. Used with permission by Great West Casualty Company.”

This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.