Peterbilt Motors Co. is introducing a new ergonomic column-mounted shifter for its Model 579 and 567 trucks. The column-mounted shifter will be standard on trucks equipped with the new PACCAR-branded automated mechanical transmission (AMT), available in October, as well as units with Eaton Advantage and Ultra Shift AMTs.

The new shifter, located on the right-hand side of the steering column, features a multi-mode design and allows control of all transmission and engine brake functions, including gear selection, engine brake mode and manual shifting, the OEM said.

The column-mounted shifter places controls at the driver’s finger tips, minimizing distractions and allowing an increased focus on road conditions and surrounding traffic, according to Scott Newhouse, Peterbilt’s chief engineer.

“This column-mounted shifter takes ergonomics to a new level,” he added in a statement. “It was designed based on in-depth studies of driver behavior and ergonomics. This new design also allowed us to improve on the usability of our dash by eliminating engine brake control switches.”

With the implementation of the column-mounted lever, a new-design pinch valve located on the dash replaced the traditional lever for trailer brake activation, greatly enhancing control during coupling and uncoupling maneuvers.

The column-mounted shifter will be available on Models 579 and 567 ordered with automated transmissions beginning in October this year, Peterbilt pointed out.