What Are Jake Brakes And Their Risks?
Jake braking is necessary for 18-wheelers, 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 more significantly, 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, including patents filed by Jacobs Brake, were developed over time.
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:
- Mack Powerleash.
- Blue Ox. (But this is an exhaust brake system)
- Telma driveline retarder, and others.
As these braking systems will remain an adjunct to a truck’s foot and hand brake systems, truckers are not legally bound 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 snow melts, that auxiliary brake system could 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 the 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 noise pollution disturbances.
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.
Ehline Law Firm Has The Legal Experience Needed for Understanding Jake Brake Issues
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.
- In Dalton, MA, the local government considered a ban on the practice near an accident-prone stretch of road, according to the Berkshire Eagle.
- A deadly crash in Colorado was caused, at least partially, by not properly using the engine braking system.
- In Alabama, misplaced ‘no jake braking’ signs may contribute to the number of crashes near I-459.
- California has municipality fire truck restrictions on using compression-style brakes to reduce noise. Hence, a brake retarder is mandatory for fire trucks exceeding 31,000 gross vehicle weight under California Vehicle Code Sections 35002(b)(2) and 521).
The practice of truck drivers downshifting to slow their vehicle has its exact value but can place regular commuters at risk, especially in cases of novice truckers or distracted truckers. A trucker may accidentally use both the standard 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 significant cause of chain collisions behind them, harming people occupying the next 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 don’t know everything about the potential risks Jake Brakes presents to roadway users. Still, anecdotally, we know that driver inexperience and distraction are significant causes of all trucking accidents.
Can I Sue Someone Over A Jake Brake Accident?
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, the mechanics, and the parts manufacturers for their 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 contact our all-star personal injury attorneys by dialing (213) 596-9642 or using our above online 24/7 contact form for faster service.