communities are trying to stop truckers from using their engine
brakes, drawing loud protests from a braking system manufacturer
that thinks its products are being unfairly targeted. Signs around
town now say, "Engine braking illegal except in emergency."
Department of Transportation's southeastern district got involved
after noise complaints led some communities to put up signs saying,
"No Jake Brakes."
received letters from Jacobs Vehicle Systems lawyers complaining
that they were infringing on the company's trademark, said Frank
Stawski, manager of legal affairs for Jacobs. Once contacted,
the communities all backed down without lawsuits, Stawski noted.
to a published report, to deal with both the noise complaints
and the legal issues, the state came up with a policy that allows
communities with anti-noise ordinances to put up signs. Menomonee
Falls, Lannon, Pewaukee and Watertown are the latest area communities
to use the policy. Local governments must pay for the signs and
enforce the ban, Craft said.
do anything about the signs in their new form, Stawski explained.
But Jacobs doesn't believe its products are the real problem,
he added. The loud distinctive sound of engine brakes is magnified
when a truck is running with a faulty muffler or no muffler at
all, Stawski said.
require trucks to have working mufflers, and responsible trucking
companies and drivers support those laws, said Stawski. He urged
Wisconsin and other states to follow the lead of Colorado, which
levies a $500 fine for the first offense of driving without a