A brodie knob (alternate spelling brody knob) is a knob that attaches to the steering wheel of an automobile. The knob swivels, and is intended to make steering with one hand less difficult. Brodie knobs are also known as "necker knobs", because they allow steering with one hand while necking with the passenger. One disadvantage of the knob is that after letting go of the steering wheel after going around a corner, the steering wheel spins rapidly and the knob can hit the user's forearm or elbow. Other names include suicide knob (a reference to Steve Brodie, after whom the knob is said to be named), granny knob, and steering wheel spinner.
Brodie knobs enjoyed limited popularity on trucks and tractors before the advent of power steering. Their main use today is still in trucks, particularly semi trucks where they allow simultaneous steering and operation of the radio or gearshift. They are also used on forklifts and riding lawnmowers, where frequent sharp turning is required. The knob is also standard equipment in most modern farm and commercial tractors, its main purpose being to ease single-hand steering while the driver operates other controls with his/her other hand or is traveling in reverse.
Brodie knobs are legal on private vehicles in most U.S. states. In New York State, a doctor's prescription must be submitted to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, which in turn, shows that the knob is "required" on all vehicles the user drives and such requirement is entered on the user's drivers license.
There is a USA federal labor law restricting their use for specific construction vehicles.
- State Laws for Steering Wheel Knobs http://www.suicideknob.net/state_laws.html
- OSHA 1926.602(c)(1)(iv) http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10769