Vail’s concern with jake brakes requires more research on trucker noise
I read with great interest the Oct. 25 story of the Vail Town Council’s attempt to regulate Interstate 70 traffic noise.
Although the headline read “Vail pushes law against I-70 noise,” the article only mentioned truckers’ “jake brakes” as the source of noise the town wishes to address.
What really hit me was how Councilmember Greg Moffet could speak so loudly on a subject he appears to know very little about. First of all, modern trucks are built to meet federal noise emission standards.
The loud jake brakes you hear are actually exhaust systems often modified for a slight gain in performance. Truly, a modern heavy truck with an unaltered exhaust system does not emit enough noise to complain about. Maybe finding a way to enforce already existing noise emission standards is a more reasonable idea.
Second, as a Class A commercial driver’s license holder, I have operated heavy trucks through the Vail area and can say firsthand you don’t use the jake brake from the top of “Vail Pass all the way to Avon, Edwards or even Eagle.”
You would probably be stopped somewhere between Vail and East Vail. You might use it between West Vail and Minturn, where the downgrade increases and the speed limit decreases.
Making it “unlawful to use a dynamic braking device” is another serious error because the term dynamic braking device also includes electromagnetic driveline retarders, a nonfriction braking device that does not emit any sound.
Councilmember Moffet further demonstrates his ignorance on the subject by calling truckers who truly must engage their jake brakes careless.
I would strongly suggest the Vail Town Council do a bit more research on the subject before enacting an ordinance that at least Councilwoman Diana Donovan sees as “irresponsible, immature and foolish.”
Maybe a visit to a local heavy truck operator would enlighten the town council.
Larger excavating companies that haul their own equipment and large tow truck operators oftentimes haul loads heavier than most.
They require greater care and skill to move their loads safely. Take a ride with one of them. I think the key to this issue is in the headline, let’s regulate noise, not just jake brakes.
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