Trucker’s invention provides better access to engine brakes

by James Menzies

MILLET, Alta. – About 10 years ago, Everett Crough nearly met his match. He was driving for Nowsco Well Service in Northern Alberta when he came across a bumpy creek valley. He immediately needed to active the truck’s engine brakes, but as he reached for the switch he hit a bump and missed it.

Crough didn’t have any time to spare, but thanks to some skilled driving he was able to keep the dirty side down despite the delay in activating the engine brake.

It’s a situation that has happened many a time to him and other truckers, especially those who ply the bumpy back roads, he says.

The incident prompted him to create a safety-oriented solution that would prevent it from happening again. The end result is the KLE brake handle. The device attaches to the gearshift and provides easy access to both the engine brake on/off switch and the staging switch. A driver only has so many hands, so Crough says by positioning the switches on the gearshift, a driver can easily activate the engine brake while downshifting. The kit, which will soon be available through KLE and select retailers, includes the brake handle and a wiring harness. It can be easily installed within 45 minutes, and Crough says it won’t interfere with a truck’s existing wiring or OEM warranty.

“This has saved me a lot of grief,” says Crough, who has been using the patent-pending product himself for several years now.

Like all truckers-turned-inventors, Crough is now hoping to get the product out to the masses in hopes it will improve overall truck safety.

“It’s built mainly for safety reasons, it’s not just a toy,” says Crough, noting that nine out of 10 respondents of an independent survey expressed interest in the product. “Just about everybody has hit a bump at the wrong time and that can be deadly.”

A new prototype is currently being developed, which will be more durable and compact than the existing one. Crough is also working on creating an LED light for the dash that indicates at all times what stage the brake is in. The indicator would go in the place of the original engine brake switches.

Crough says while the new product is handy for truckers who travel over bumpy roads and highways, he also says it’s an overall improvement for any truck that has a 10 to 21-speed Eaton Fuller transmission.

“It’s really nice to have when you’re coming into a city where you’re not allowed to use the engine brake,” says Crough. “You just click it off and then click it on again after when you leave the city.”

Because drivers often have to downshift around the same time as activating the engine brake, Crough says both actions can take place in basically one, swift motion without scrambling around to find the appropriate switch on the dash.

For more information about the KLE brake handle, call KLE Inventures at 780-361-6051.

MODALOHR has developed a road-rail combined transport system that meets the needs of road haulers and rail operators. MODALOHR’s coach has a lowered, articulated floor, which enables complete independent embarkation of conventional semi-trailers or full-sized trucks onto the coach. This system is compatible with the clearance limits of major railway lines so it does not require any new line construction. Horizontal loading is performed directly from the cab, diagonal loading permits rapid simultaneous transfer of trainloads in less than 30 minutes. An ultra-low floor enables trucks with heights of up to 13 feet, to be loaded without exceeding the railway line clearance limits. For more information on the MODALOHR coach, call 312-222-1235 or visit,

Ridewell Suspensions has announced design improvements to its Mod. 240-LKS 25,000 lb cap. self-steering trailer air-ride, built to accommodate provincial weight law changes in Ontario and Quebec. For improved axle control, the shock has been relocated to the outboard side of the beam. This will also provide additional working clearance for maintenance of the shock and steer lock mechanism. The Mod. 240-LKS system is for heavy-duty, multi-axle applications with dual or super-single tires and is available unitized with a fully dressed leading kingpin axle. For more information call 800-641-4122 or visit

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