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Councilor seeks ban on 'jake' brakes

Truckers should not be allowed to use noisy engine braking in Middletown Borough, Councilor Mike Bowman argued during a Middletown Borough Council public works committee meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Bowman, a committee member, said he believes Middletown needs to enact an ordinance banning the use of “jake’’ brakes and post signs.

“We need one at each entrance to the town,” suggested Councilor John Brubaker, another committee member.

Bowman said he is especially concerned with truck traffic on Ann Street, where he would like to see trucks limited to those making local deliveries. Diesel trucks may be equipped with a engine compression brake that assists with slowing down the truck. Compression brakes, like those offered by Jacobs Vehicle Systems, releases compression from the engine when the driver activates a switch.

Using compression braking creates a series of staccato rumbles that had led to bans in residential areas.

The ban on jake brakes and the limits on Ann Street traffic must be considered by the full council. If council decides to pursue these actions, the borough will have to coordinate its decision with the state Department of Transportation to ensure the legalities.