County wants to muffle jake brakes
by Bill Clough
Jan 31, 2013 | 1631 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — Drivers of 18-wheel trucks in Bee County are about to be warned.

The use of a compression release engine brake, otherwise known as a Jacobs brake or “Jake brake” (named for its inventor, the Engine Brake division of the Jacobs Vehicle System), soon will be prohibited within county lines.

When employed, the system uses the compression of a diesel engine to slow the rig. It’s efficient and saves wear on the tractor’s regular brakes but also noisy — prompting numerous communities to restrict its use.

Bee County commissioners unanimously voted to install signs on the outskirts of Bee County communities.

The county’s road and bridge department should start posting them in about two weeks.

Distribution of the 24 signs will be: Tynan, 3; Skidmore, 3; Beeville, 3; Tuleta, 2; Normanna, 2; Pawnee, 4; Pettus, 4; and Tulsita, 3.

“We aren’t passing a county ordinance banning the practice,” explains Precinct 4 County Commissioner Kenneth Haggard, who sponsored the idea, prompted by complaints from residents in Skidmore.

“Right now, it will be on the honor system.”

Beeville’s signs will be posted near FM Road 673 and the FM Road 351 bypass.

Haggard, who used to drive 18-wheelers, admits he likes the powerful sound of the jake brakes.

“I love the sound of them. It’s just a diesel thing with me. But I don’t think they should be used in cities, definitely not after dark. They’re a nuisance.”

He says he expects the honor-system regulation to become a countywide ordinance in a year.

“Creating an ordinance is a time-consuming process,” Haggard says. “With an honor system, we can get the signs up a lot faster.”
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