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Q: How do you feel about communities restricting engine brakes?

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - No matter where you drive across the country, if you are a truck driver than you have certainly heard complaints about the loud cackle of the engine brake.More and more communities...






MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – No matter where you drive across the country, if you are a truck driver than you have certainly heard complaints about the loud cackle of the engine brake.

More and more communities have been jumping on the band-wagon to either ban the use of this safety system outright, or are implementing their own restrictions such as banning their use in a speed zone of 50 km-h or less.

With a strong emphasis on safety within the trucking industry, are there fears the removal of such a system could potentially be fatal?

We asked truckers at the Dixie Truck Stop, and most agreed courtesy could help diffuse the situation.

But at the same time, some felt the engine brake is installed on trucks for a reason, and the public should also be more tolerant.

Blaine Elder was waiting for a phone call when he took a moment to comment on the situation.

“It (engine brake) should be used for mountains or hills only. You don’t need to be speeding through a town or city,” he says

Elder, who hauls reefer with a 1999 Volvo for Tri-Cal Trucking out of Saskatoon, says he rarely needs to use his engine brake.

North Bay’s Adam Nielen, of Dwain Roberts Trucking does not agree with the bans. “I pull super B trains, so it’s a pain in the ass,” he says. Nielen, who hauls steel with a 2000 Freightliner and was fueling up before heading for Calgary and Edmonton says the movement to ban them is not very safe.

“They should either have by-passes or be more tolerant.”

Winnipeg’s Maye Transport driver Ron Goodson believes engine brakes are critical for safety, especially during the day.

The Peterborough native does his best to exercise courtesy during the nighttime hours by using his engine brake as little as possible. “At night I can see communities getting upset. I try not to use mine, but during the day they are a necessity,” he says.

Goodson has the sweet pleasure of hauling Baskin Robbins Ice Cream with his 1996 Freightliner.

Dennis Campbell, who was hauling ocean containers to CN in Brampton with a 1991 Peterbilt for JNL Transport Inc., thinks banning them is crazy.

“Some of them, I can understand, between certain hours. But not a total ban. It makes it easier to stop your truck using the engine brake.” A solution Campbell suggests is banning them between certain hours, such as 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

“On a flat stretch there is no reason to use them,” contends Howard Bergstresser of Searcy Trucking. n


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