Paris passes engine brake ordinance

The Paris Town Board has passed an ordinance prohibiting engine brake use in the town.

Use of engine brakes by large diesel engine trucks can be loud and has become more of a problem in Paris since construction related to the Foxconn manufacturing complex in Racine County has increased truck traffic in the town, board members said.

Town Supervisor Ken Monson initiated the action, saying he had heard complaints from residents.

“It’s annoying apparently when they are trying to sleep,” Monson said of the complaints he has received.

A Wikipedia article on engine brakes, also known as Jacob or Jake brakes, explains:

The use of compression release engine brakes may cause a vehicle to make a loud chattering or “machine gun/jackhammer-like” exhaust noise, especially vehicles having high flow mufflers, or no mufflers at all, causing many communities in the United States, Canada and Australia to prohibit compression braking within municipal limits.”

The town’s ordinance, in part, says:

No person shall use a compression braking system within designated areas of the Town unless the vehicle is equipped with an adequate engine brake muffler in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent excessive or unusual noise.”

The ordinance includes an exception for emergencies.

The vote to adopt the ordinance at the Oct. 23 board meeting was unanimous.

“I’m happy that Supervisor Monson brought this up,” said Supervisor Ron Kammerzelt. “It is needed.”

With the ordinance adopted, the state will post signs at entry points to the town along state and US highways such as the north and south entry points for Highway 45, and at the east and west entry points along Highway 142. Those signs will says proper mufflers must be in place, not that engine braking is prohibited.

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