Tag Archives: compression brakes

Truck brakes rattle Bainbridge Islander

The in basket: Leslie Kelly, who lives about a mile past the Agate Pass Bridge on Bainbridge Island, writes, “OK. So I bought a house that sits just off Highway 305. And I’ve learned to make like the highway noise is the ocean. But why do I have to put up with the tsunami of trucks using their compression brakes? I thought they were illegal. Why isn’t that enforced by the State Patrol or Bainbridge Island police?

The out basket: Bainbridge Island Police Chief Matt Hamner referred the question to Detective Sergeant Scott Weiss of his department, who says, “Compression brakes are not per se illegal.  Here is the state law:  http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.37.395.  It says in part, “ An engine compression brake device is any device that uses the engine and transmission to impede the forward motion of the motor vehicle by compression of the engine.
The driver of a motor vehicle equipped with a device that uses the compression of the motor vehicle engine shall not use the device unless the motor vehicle is equipped with an operational muffler and exhaust system to prevent excess noise. A muffler is part of an engine exhaust system which acts as a noise dissipative device.”

“The City Ordinance is 10.28,” Scott said, “which again only makes compression brakes illegal if they do not have a muffler. I have not heard any illegal (no muffler or exhaust system for it).

“A citizen may really be hearing a truck use a legal compression brake but one without a muffler system would be extremely, abnormally loud.

“We would certainly enforce/address any illegal equipment violations as we come across them. Over the years I believe that we have had a few illegal Jake or compression brake violations but they have been very few in number, probably only a handful in 10-15 years.”