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Ontario Municipalities Target Noisy Engine Brakes

TORONTO, Ont. - Most modern engine brakes are barely audible, yet an Ontario coalition of municipalities is pushing the province to implement a costly mandatory engine brake inspection program to redu...


TORONTO, Ont. – Most modern engine brakes are barely audible, yet an Ontario coalition of municipalities is pushing the province to implement a costly mandatory engine brake inspection program to reduce noise. The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) has responded by claiming the program would place a costly burden on carriers, which would need to purchase new, expensive noise testing equipment.

The Ontario Traffic Conference (OTC), which acts on behalf of Ontario municipalities, is calling on the province to implement the program under existing Sec. 71 (1) of the Highway Traffic Act, which requires all vehicles to have a properly-functioning muffler.

Geoff Wood, vice-president of operations and safety at the OTA, pointed out excessive noise is caused by modified truck exhausts, not your run of the mill engine brake.

“The real problem with unnecessary noise from trucks has to do with modified truck exhausts, not engine brakes,” he explained. “The fact is that modern engine brakes, when operated properly, do not actually cause any increase in noise levels. Proposing new laws and by-laws prohibiting the use of engine brakes is a mistake based on a misunderstanding of the real culprit causing the excessive noise problem that municipalities are trying to address.”

If municipalities want to reduce noise, they should be targeting only modified truck exhaust systems, he suggested.

“It’s already illegal to modify exhausts in a manner that would increase the noise they create, and what’s needed is more effective enforcement of the existing provisions in the Highway Traffic Act,” he claimed. “Carriers already are required to check exhaust systems annually as part of the truck’s annual inspection, but modifications that increase the noise level can occur at any time and it’s up to enforcement agencies to identify and take action against those modified vehicles. OTA supports the removal of both passenger and commercial vehicles from public roads when they fail to comply with the law. It’s time that laws already on the books are applied to vehicles breaking noise laws. We don’t need a new program to resolve this matter.”

The OTA is continuing to argue that a mandatory inspection program is an “overreaction to a relative minority of trucks operating with modified exhausts.”


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9 Comments » for Ontario Municipalities Target Noisy Engine Brakes
  1. M. Jones says:

    Engine brakes are extremely audible when used! They should not be used in residential areas. At times the noise is horrendous as drivers start the engine brakes right outside homes on a 2-lane highway. More than one truck blasting past a house is a nightmare – all day and all night. Noise enters houses primarily through windows – sound reducing windows are a costly burden on home owners. The size and weight of trucks is also a major problem on a 2 lane highway with houses located in close proximity to the road. Please, do not use engine brakes and please obey the posted speed limit in a residential area – no matter how small.

  2. Bob Munday says:

    Modified exhaust systems is definitely the culprit. Since engine brakes use exhaust systems as an exit passage, quiet mufflers also quiet the extra noise from engine brake use.
    Living on the corner of a busy highway exit road, I can tell you that it is more than a minority of trucks that have their exhaust modified. The worst offenders are the privately owned trucks.
    All the province needs is a pole mounted decibel meter to measure the sound of a vehicle whether it’s a car or truck .take a picture of its plate and send out a ticket. This type of system would take into account noisy exhaust on acceleration and decel. With the existing technology out there for toll roads. How hard could it be? Start by putting one on my front yard. I live in Sarnia and there isn’t any noise enforcement here. There are tiny signs asking truckers to “please avoid unnecessary use of engine brakes” up the road from me. Most drivers use them anyway, strangely enough ,even with empty loads.
    I knew when i moved to this corner last year there was alot of truck traffic, but didn’t expect the Blarent disregard for people living in residential areas.

  3. JAKE BRAKE says:

    wawa wa

  4. Terry says:

    Then most trucks out there are not modern because the noise from these things is anything but inaudible and I hear it every 10 minutes and I’m downtown! This story is crap just like the poster Jake Brake.
    Doubling the fines would be a good start before you take little Jake Brakes license away.

  5. Andrew Ruhl says:

    I am listening to trucks using engine brakes right now as I sit at my desk. It’s very distracting and totally unnecessary.
    Drivers who use jake brakes as they approach level intersections, clearly know the effect they have on the residential neighborhoods they are traveling through but don’t care. I assume they do it because like all little boys, they like to make a big noise. Reading “Jake Brake’s” comments shows me a perfect example of an irresponsible driver who gives truckers and the trucking business a bad name.

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