[Updated September 8, 2021] Jake braking is a necessary part of 18-wheeler, commercial truck travel, and delivery in this country. Truckers and other motorists will use their vehicle’s engine to slow their vehicles, preventing significant brake wear, and often essential during cases of severe brake failure.
In other words, your engine becomes a sort of auxiliary braking device. But larger, diesel-powered commercial trucks, in particular, will benefit most from these engine braking systems.
Engine brakes are so important to the trucking industry, that customized engine braking systems were developed over time, including patents filed by Jacobs Brake.
Jacobs Brake would become the premier commercial engine brake equipment supplier for big rigs, forever branding any truck downshifting/engine brake as a “Jake Brake.”
But manufacturers of other engine brake systems exist, including:
As these braking systems will remain an adjunct to a truck’s foot and hand brake systems, trucker are not bound by an law to utilize this helpful tool in slowing down their big rig.
The basic physics used during engine braking deceleration says that downshifting energy will grab and slow the rotation of the axles, obviating the need to engage the truck’s air brakes, saving on wear and tear.
Most truck operator manuals detailing engine brakes publicly available online will be even more specific, stating that during rain, or possibly even during snow melts that auxiliary brake system could possibly lock up the rig’s wheels.
Many truckers disagree that water could lock an auxiliary brake, but it’s possible. Obviously, when bad weather is present, a semi-intelligent vehicle operator will take steps necessary to consider the increased stopping times due to the road hazards and conditions present.
However, even when you drive in the best weather, Jake Braking presents certain inconveniences and risks to residents living near major roads and highways, particularly disturbances involving noise pollution.
Many towns and cities have banned or stifled Jake Braking within their jurisdiction to quell the complaints of locals, presenting various legal landmines to the trucking industry as a whole.
We know that green truckers are replacing the more advanced truckers of old. In reviewing cases of jake braking and its effects, we compiled valuable information for our readers.
The Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC is among the leading car and truck accident lawyers in the state of California.
Furthermore, our experience working alongside and even suing state agencies like Caltrans and municipalities on these issues is second to none.
So we have the know-how to speak out on and address these issues. Below is a partial list of accidents caused, at least in part, by the practice of engine braking.
The practice of truck drivers downshifting to slow their vehicle has its clear value but can place regular commuters at risk, especially in cases of novice truckers, or distracted truckers. A trucker may accidentally use both the regular brakes and their Jake brakes simultaneously, causing their trucks to slow at a quicker than expected pace, jackknifing their trailer, plunging down the highway like a battering ram, smashing into passenger cars, killing or permanently ruining the occupants.
Commuters see big rigs as a major cause of chain collisions behind them, harming people occupying a following car, or riding their motorcycles. Fortunately, many new trucks will use Black Box technology, which helps experts test these causation theories, but older trucks generally lack this technology.
We just don’t know everything about the potential risks Jake Brakes present to roadway users, but anecdotally, we do know that driver inexperience and distraction is a major cause of all trucking accidents.
Yes, you can sue, that is the short answer, but the longer answer remains complicated. As noted above, you won’t know the internals causing your accident without proper systems monitoring technology. Either way, victims may still have legal cases against the trucker, the shipping company, mechanics, and parts manufacturers for their ordinary negligence.
Our premier lawyers understand how improper use of systems, defective parts, or inadequate maintenance can all be part of a lawsuit for damages. We help victims with injuries caused by unsafely operated commercial and long haul trucks, with our vast experience and millions of dollars won for injury victims.
Are you injured from a trucking accident and seeking swift justice? Do you want to learn more info? You can keep reading our site or you can contact our all-star personal injury attorneys by dialing (213) 596-9642, or using our above online 24/7 contact form for faster service.