Latest engine-brake quandary

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Updated Dec 14, 2009

Engine brakes — followed in a close second by idling — might be the No. 1 bugaboo of localities around the nation when it comes to trucking. They’re loud, residents say, a veritable scourge to peaceful living, and have been approached occasionally by attempted bans of trucks from long-used routes in different areas around the nation.

The latest controversy brakes was remarked upon by a letter writer to the News-Transcript in the Freehold, N.J., area, about a new housing development along a truck route in nearby Manalapan. “Town puts truckers’ interests before residents,” ran the headline, and the writer agreed with a township committeewoman who said the issue was one of policy, not enforcement of existing laws, calling for new restrictions on trucks along the route.

But many truckers attest that the issue of loud engine brakes is one of faulty mufflers, and has nothing intrinsically to do with all equipment. The issue, which extends well beyond just a couple localities nationwide, was detailed in the August “Price of Noise” feature by Channel 19 contributor and Overdrive managing editor Lucinda Coulter. Read more about some states’ preferred solution to the problem, i.e. enforcing faulty-muffler regulations, and more in the digital edition of the magazine here.