City Hall

Engine Brakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. Or: The City Wants Big Rigs to Turn It Way Down.

This is what it sounds like when a diesel-powered big rig hits the brakes -- or, more to the point, the compressed engine brakes that release compressed air stored in the exhaust valves to slow down the vehicle. Got that? No? Try this, then. Or: The Straight Dope! Or maybe you've heard of the Jake brake, so named for the leading manufacturer. Anyway. It's loud. Especially in a residential area. You know what I'm talking about.

It's so loud, matter of fact, that many cities and states have outlawed the use of compressed engine brakes -- no doubt you've seen a sign like the one posted here down in, oh, let's say Austin. Or during your weekly weekend getaways to Bangor, Maine. Or that one time you found yourself in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on a "business trip." They're all over. I was taking a sneak peek at the city council's Transportation and Environment Committee's agenda for next week and noticed, at the very bottom, that the Dallas Police Department and City Attorney's Office are floating a proposal to rewrite this section of the Dallas City Code to "prohibit the use of engine compression brakes in the city."

Got some calls out to City Hall to see what prompted the drafted ordinance, which is scheduled to be voted on by the council on August 25. But if you wanna get your Jake brake on, truck-drivin' man, you'd best hustle.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky