Concerns from residents along Fayetteville’s more well-traveled thoroughfares have city officials considering an ordinance banning the use of jake brakes in certain areas.
Alderman Donna Hartman brought concerns over truckers’ use of jake brakes before the Board of Mayor Alderman in their work session Thursday, saying the city’s fire and police committee had discussed the complaints and how they might be addressed.
Saying the use of jake brakes emits a very loud and disturbing noise, Hartman described the type of compression brake often used by drivers of large vehicles to slow their rigs down as they’re entering town and/or approaching curves. Some cities, she said, particularly small towns, have ordinances that prohibit their use.
“It’s very disturbing at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning or during the day,” she said, going on to explain that the fire chief had said the use of the braking maneuver is unnecessary if vehicles are obeying the speed limit within residential areas of concern. “You use them for emergency quick stops or to save your brakes, so this citizen, one in particular, keeps coming to us and is asking for this, because it’s very disturbing to their sleep, and there’s no use for it.”
Police Chief Richard Howell said the city could adopt an ordinance prohibiting their use in certain areas. If adopted, the Tennessee Highway Patrol would also provide training to city officers.
City Mayor Michael Whisenant noted this isn’t the first time that concerns have been voiced by residents as he asked for the board’s thoughts on the matter.
“The same citizen, I’m sure, talked to me,” said Alderman Jeff Alder. “I’ve never noticed it myself, but if there are other folks out there who have the issue, I’d like to know if it’s more than just one, to do some kind of ordinance.”
“The thing about truck drivers is that they’ve got to get from point A to point B as fast as they can, using the shortest distance that they can,” said Whisenant, discussing whether additional or larger signage might be used to ask truckers to avoid certain streets. That, though, would have to be submitted to the state for its consideration.
The city’s police and fire committee is expected to draft an ordinance that would address the issue and return it to the City Board for its consideration.
“One question that I’d like to ask is how enforceable would this be,” asked Vice Mayor Dorothy Small.
“Here in Fayetteville we have a lot of complaints, from red lights, speeding ...,” said Howell. “When you have three to four officers working per shift, and that’s all have, it’s prioritized. No disrespect to anyone, I am not going to set a unit there just to watch for jake brakes. I made that clear in the committee meeting. If they’re on patrol, they hear it and they think it’s in violation and they have probable cause to make the stop, I expect them to do it. As far as enforcing it, we’ll do the very best that we can.”