TITLE 31
Motor and Other vehicles

CHAPTER 31-23
Equipment and Accessories Generally

SECTION 31-23-4


§ 31-23-4 Brake equipment required.

(a) Every motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, when operated upon a highway, shall be equipped with brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold the vehicle, including two (2) separate means of applying the brakes, each of which means shall be effective to apply the brakes to at least two (2) 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 (2) wheels.

(b) Every motorcycle, and motor-driven cycle, when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with at least one brake, which may be operated by hand or foot, and which is adequate to control and stop the vehicle.

(c) Every trailer or semi-trailer of a gross weight of four thousand pounds (4,000 lbs.) or more, when operated upon a highway, shall be equipped with brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and to hold the vehicle, and so designed as to be applied by the driver of the towing motor vehicle from the driver's normal operating position, and the brakes shall be so designed and connected that in case of an accidental breakaway of the towed vehicle, the brakes shall be automatically applied.

(d) Every new motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer sold in this state and operated upon the highways shall be equipped with service brakes upon all wheels of the vehicle, except any motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, and except that any semi-trailer of less than four thousand pounds (4,000 lbs.) gross weight need not be equipped with brakes.

(e) In any combination of motor-drawn vehicles, means shall be provided for applying:

(1) The rearmost trailer brakes, of any trailer equipped with brakes, in approximate synchronism with the brakes on the towing vehicle and developing the required braking effort on the rearmost wheels at the fastest rate; or

(2) Braking effort first on the rearmost trailer equipped with brakes; or

(3) Both of the above means capable of being used alternatively may be employed.

(f) Every motor vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer, and pole trailer, and any combination of those vehicles, except motorcycles and motor-driven cycles, shall be equipped with parking brakes adequate to hold the vehicle on any grade on which it is operated under all conditions of loading on a surface free from snow, ice, or loose material. The parking brakes shall be capable of being applied in conformance with the requirements in this subsection by the driver's muscular effort, by spring action, or by equivalent means. The operation may be assisted by the service brakes or other source of power, provided that failure of the service brake actuation system or other power assisting mechanism will not prevent the parking brakes from being applied in conformance with the requirements in this subsection. The parking brakes shall be so designed that when once applied they shall remain applied with the required effectiveness, despite exhaustion of any source of energy or leakage of any kind. The same brake drums, brake shoes and lining assemblies, brake shoe anchors, and mechanical brake shoe actuation mechanism normally associated with the wheel brake assemblies may be used for both the service brakes and the parking brakes. If the means of applying the parking brakes and the service brakes are connected in any way, they shall be so constructed that failure of any one part shall not leave the vehicle without operative brakes.

(g) The brake shoes operating within or upon the drums on the vehicle wheels of any motor vehicle may be used for both service and hand operation.

(h) It shall be unlawful to sell, offer for sale, or distribute brake linings for use on motor vehicles, unless they are of a type and meet specifications promulgated by the administrator of the division of motor vehicles. The administrator of the division of motor vehicles is authorized and empowered to adopt and amend regulations governing types and promulgate specifications of brake linings which comply with approved standards, as promulgated by the vehicle equipment safety commission, and shall establish and maintain an approved list of brake linings meeting the specifications as established in this chapter. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a civil violation and is subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1950, ch. 2595, art. 34, § 30; P.L. 1952, ch. 2937, § 14; G.L. 1956, § 31-23-4; P.L. 1965, ch. 103, § 1; P.L. 1967, ch. 36, § 1; P.L. 1972, ch. 26, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 218, art. 6, § 11; P.L. 2000, ch. 109, § 68; P.L. 2002, ch. 292, § 120.)