Montana proposes engine-brake amendment

| 3/31/2003

Montana lawmakers have amended a bill to protect truckers’ rights to use muffled engine compression brakes.

While considering HB237, which requires a muffler on any motor vehicle equipped with an engine compression brake, the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee amended the bill to make it clear that cities cannot prohibit a truck from using an engine compression brake device if the truck is equipped with a muffler.

OOIDA member Jesse Oldham Jr. of Great Falls, MT, attended the committee hearing March 11 and suggested the amendment that now reads: “An operator of a commercial motor vehicle that has an engine compression brake device with a factory-installed muffler or an equivalent aftermarket muffler may not be prohibited from using the engine compression brake device.”

Oldham says if the bill is passed, it will be an example or precedent for other states. Then, he said, no community would have an excuse for outlawing compression brakes.

The amended bill passed the Senate March 24, and returns to the House for approval of the amendment.

--by Rene Tankersley, feature editor