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updated: 7/11/2012 5:30 PM

Grayslake passes law trying to reduce truck braking noise

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  • Jeff Werfel

    Jeff Werfel


Grayslake trustees have approved a local law designed to reduce truck noise that's bothered some village residents.

Commercial vehicles are now prohibited from using engine braking systems on all Grayslake roads. Under the ordinance, the systems that "emit excessive noise" may be used only when attempting to avoid a collision with a person or vehicle.

Signs regarding the ban will be installed along state highways, such as routes 45 and 137, that run through Grayslake.

"This should lead to a quieter village," Mayor Rhett Taylor said after the village board recently passed the ordinance amendment by a 6-0 vote.

Typically used by semitrailer drivers going down steep, long hills, engine braking involves shifting into low gear to dissipate energy and slow down a vehicle. Donald Schaefer, executive vice president of the Springfield-based Mid-West Truckers Association, said this method commonly is known as "jake brakes."

Schaefer said Wednesday that engine braking is more effective means for stopping. He said truckers also find it saves wear and tear on their brakes.

Drivers who don't correctly engine brake generally make noise, Schaefer said.

"In all truth, a truck with a factory muffler system can use the engine (noise reduction) system and you would never hear it. The complaints usually happen when a muffler system is modified and they hear the popping noise," he said.

Since 2007, a state law has allowed counties and municipalities to post signs on Illinois-controlled roads warning drivers that engine braking is prohibited. Violators are punishable by a $75 fine.

Grayslake trustee Jeff Werfel brought the engine braking prohibition idea to a village board committee meeting last month.

He said he pursued it after receiving noise complaints from several residents who live near Route 45.

Werfel said the ordinance allows the village to be "a little bit ahead of the curve" because it'll be on the books if truck traffic grows from two major commercial developments planned near Peterson Road and Route 83.

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