A request for a city ordinance prohibiting engine compression brakes — often called “jake brakes” — in the city limits was agreed to by the Harrison City Council's Resources and Policy Committee last week. It directed city attorney Grant Ragland to draft an ordinance for the committee to consider in August. Ragland complied, almost immediately, and sent a copy of the initial draft to city officials Friday.
The request came as a result of a complaint by a resident who lives near U.S. 62-65 North who told the council that the roar and rumble of semi-trucks jake braking by using the engine to slow down was disturbing the peace in the residential neighborhood, especially at night.
City council member Chris Head said he understood the aggravation as his business office is located along the highway south of town. It is difficult to conduct a phone call when a truck blares past with its engine popping, he said.
Many towns have signs posted at their city limits prohibiting the use of jake brakes.
The draft of the proposed ordinance makes it unlawful for any person to use motor vehicle braking that is in any way activated or operated by the compression of the engine of such motor vehicle or any unit or part thereof within the city. This prohibition shall not apply if an emergency situation exists and the use of the engine compression brake is necessary for the protection of persons or property.
Penalties include: Any person violating the ordinance may be sentenced to a fine and court costs not to exceed $500.
The Harrison Street Department would be authorized and directed to post such signs as approved by the Arkansas Department of Transportation.