Engine Braking Within Municipal Boundaries
- by Don Stewart
When Should "Jake Brakes" Be Used?
Use of Engine Retarder Brakes:
Engine retarder brakes are used in many heavy trucks as a supplement to the vehicles service brakes. The principle behind the engine retarder brake is that it changes the action of the exhaust valves, turning the engine into an air compressor. Engine brakes use the characteristics of the diesel engine to produce a significant amount of drag through the vehicles drive train to the wheels. This allows the service brakes to stay cool and ready for emergencies. Retarders serve to slow the vehicles, or maintain a steady speed while traveling down a hill, and help prevent the vehicle from "running away" by accelerating down the hill.
Engine retarder brakes provide increased driving safety in difficult weather and road conditions, including ice, snow and wet or gravel road surfaces and especially when travelling downhill.
Engine retarder brakes can help provide:
Faster, steadier, more efficient braking performance.
Reduced wear on engine, tires, and service brakes.
Less vehicle downtime.
Enhanced driver confidence.
When Shouldn't "Jake Brakes" Be Used?
Actions restricting the use of engine retarder brakes will have legal and safety implications since truck drivers often rely on engine brakes in controlling their vehicles under various situations.
In 1998, the City of Winnipeg enacted a by-law which prohibits the use of engine retarder brakes (Jake brakes) within the city boundaries.
A person must not
(a) except in any emergency, engage, operate, apply or otherwise use an engine retarder brake in any vehicle driven within the City of Winnipeg;
Additionally, the City of Winnipeg has posted signs at the outskirts of the city to advise drivers of this by-law.
Unfortunately some drivers choose to ignore the by-law and signs, and continue to use their engine retarder brakes within the city limits. As members can appreciate, the resulting noise can be a great annoyance to residents in the close proximity.
We must do our best to respect the rights of our city residents and to this end the MTA is requesting that members remind their drivers of this by-law and also to advise them not to use this braking system within the City of Winnipeg boundaries.
Your cooperation and assistance in addressing this issue, is greatly appreciated.
If you would like more information about Engine Retarder Brakes, please contact: