FALL RIVER COUNTY-The issue of using dynamic braking systems on certain Fall River County roads was discussed and debated at the Commissions latest meeting, July 16.
The Commission had their first reading of County Ordinance 2019-01, "An Ordinance Prohibiting the use of Dynamic Brake Devices in Specific Locations within Fall River County."
Dynamic braking systems also known as air brakes or Jake brakes, allow large diesel vehicles to slow themselves down using the vehicle's engine rather than the vehicles service brakes.
Dynamic braking systems are typically used to reduce stress on service brakes. This increases the lifespan of the traditional braking system, saving vehicle owners maintenance costs and helps prevent dangerous run-away situations which occur when service brakes fail.
The County ordinance aims to reduce the noise produced by dynamic braking systems in areas of the county with a lot of residents.
The ordinance allows vehicles to use dynamic brakes in order to avoid imminent danger and reserved use for emergency vehicles.
Though no specific areas were decided at the meeting, Commissioner Joe Faulkenberg said areas likely to be under control of the ordinance would be Highway 385 heading southbound into Hot Springs, the Highway 18 bypass on the south end of Hot Springs and Highway 79 heading south into Maverick Junction.
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Commissioner Paul Nabholz said he was in favor of a ban on all unmuffled dynamic braking systems county-wide.
Commissioner Joe Allen questioned the enforceability of a ban on unmuffled systems.
More that a half dozen County residents attended the meeting and expressed discontent with loud vehicles using Jake brakes near their homes or businesses.
Francis Zeimet of Simon told the Commission he was generally opposed to a ban on dynamic brakes because of safety concerns, but he added that he understood the intention behind the proposed ordinance and would be ok with a ban on unmuffled vehicles.
Ultimately, the Commission voted to approve the first reading of the ordinance as it was originally presented, with no distinction between muffled and unmuffled and only in specific posted areas in the county.
The vote passed 4 to 1 with Nabholz as the only opposing vote.