Making Some Noise Over Jake Brakes


Marti Gerdes from Fox Hollow wants neighbors to contact City Officials to ban compression release engine brakes — often called “Jake brakes,” a term that comes from a Jacobs Engine brake, within city limits.

“I have written to the City and so far no reply; if there are a LOT of messages, perhaps they’ll listen. I live off Fox Hollow and with the construction season firing back up, there’s already an increase in the jake brake noise – – and that’s with the windows closed. I am dreading open-window season when they’ll be even more aggravating!”

I checked in with Lee Shoemaker from the City of Eugene to see what he could tell us.

Heather,

I don’t know a lot about “jake brakes” (brand name) but below is some information related to your questions about the law. 

Most traffic laws are state laws but Chapter 5 of Eugene City Code has some.  The City Council passes local laws and the Oregon legislature passes state law so interested citizens could contact their elected officials.  There are noise laws but I don’t know how they apply to the truck braking noises. 

811.492 Engine braking; penalty; exception. (1) A person commits the offense of engine braking if the person is operating a motor vehicle on a highway and uses an unmuffled engine brake.

      (2) The offense described in this section, engine braking, is a Class A traffic violation.

      (3) A person is not in violation of this section if the person uses an unmuffled engine brake in an emergency situation to avoid imminent danger to a person or to property. [1993 c.314 §7]

801.263 “Engine brake.” (1) “Engine brake” means a device that converts a power-producing diesel engine into a power-absorbing air compressor, resulting in a net energy loss.

      (2) “Unmuffled engine brake” means an engine brake that is not equipped with a muffler in good working order. [1993 c.314 §9]

      153.018 Maximum fines. (1) The penalty for committing a violation is a fine. The law creating a violation may impose other penalties in addition to a fine but may not impose a term of imprisonment.

      (2) Except as otherwise provided by law, the maximum fine for a violation committed by an individual is:

      (a) $2,000 for a Class A violation.

      (b) $1,000 for a Class B violation.

      (c) $500 for a Class C violation.

      (d) $250 for a Class D violation.

      (e) $2,000 for a specific fine violation, or the maximum amount otherwise established by law for the specific fine violation.

      (3) If a special corporate fine is specified in the law creating the violation, the sentence to pay a fine shall be governed by the law creating the violation. Except as otherwise provided by law, if a special corporate fine is not specified in the law creating the violation, the maximum fine for a violation committed by a corporation is:

      (a) $4,000 for a Class A violation.

      (b) $2,000 for a Class B violation.

      (c) $1,000 for a Class C violation.

      (d) $500 for a Class D violation. [1999 c.1051 §6; 2003 c.737 §103; 2011 c.597 §7]

Contact us and we will put you in touch with Marti Gerdes from Fox Hollow to get more involved with this issue.