LETTER:Â Jake brakingÂ disrupts the peace
I would like to address the issue of the traffic on our local roads. I realize there is a lot of work being done on county roads and township roads and I know it’s overdue. I understand the increase of traffic on local and county roads. I wonder if there is not a way to get the word out about the time and use of the engine brake that seems to become a toy for some drivers, in empty trailers, the use of the engine brakes is unnecessary and with the illegal exhausts on most of those trucks it creates a menace. Federal guidance on safety for employees is guaranteeing the safety of employees by implementing regulations and inspections; the truck drivers themselves are protected inside the cab of their rig from any harmful noise that could damage their hearing. But people outside the truck and living along the route of those trucks are in constant exposure to the not only annoying but also aggravating and irritating noise. The country may have forgotten the noise control act of 1972 where it is guaranteed that every person has the right to peace and quiet in their home.
The act itself hasn’t received any funding considering what current administrations think is important, but it is an active act on Federal books. Town and cities are posting no engine braking signs in their municipalities for a reason. There is certain intrusion from the noise from trucks that are improperly muffled or not muffled at all, which by the way is also against federal law in which every motor vehicle must be equipped with a properly muffled exhaust or other noise mitigating device.
Which leads me to the second part of this issue, which is why no one in Freeman is enforcing the engine braking on Highway 81 or the county roads surrounding the town. I think if more people realized that what they are hearing is not normal engine noise, there would be more complaints. Now we have the regular local companies that are doing business all over the southeastern part of the state and they know that there are noise ordinances in place in almost every community. Yankton, for instance, has a noise ordinance and posted signs prohibiting the use of engine brakes on all four entrances into Yankton, yet no one enforces them. We have a federal law ignored for convenience while a friend of ours was ticketed for excessive engine noise on a standard exhaust on a 1964 Chevelle. They picked him up for excessive engine noise while truckers roared into town for 1/2 mile through every gear with the jakes on.
If you know what it sounds like to hear engine brakes every day near your home and you are fed up with the annoyance and aggravation it causes you, you need to contact your city council and county commission. We have the right to peace and quiet whether you live in town or out in the country.
I want to ask the town of Freeman and the surrounding area to consider a ban on engine brakes except for in emergencies. You can research the jake brake and its use on the internet and why it was installed on trucks since the 1970’s but it was not intended to make noise or make your exhaust sound louder. It was designed to stop the wear and tear in the standard brakes on hills and mountains so, if they failed, they had a way to slow down the engine. There is a time and place for an emergency device like the jake brake, but it is not intended for truckers that think it’s cool to use them to make the roaring sound that more sounds like a jack hammer. The majority of the guys I approached about what they are doing didn’t even know it was making such a ruckus and apologized and never did it again, but there are those that think they are tough guys and they are not told by some crazy old woman how to drive their truck. Those are the ones I think need to be taught a lesson. I bet when they get home at night they enjoy their peace and quiet, so why not grant us the same right? Just a question!