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City aims to put breaks on air breaks

The city of Oxford wants to stop trucks from using their engine brakes while driving inside city limits.

On Tuesday, the first reading of a proposed ordinance banning the air breaks was read at the Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting at City Hall.

A public hearing will be held on the proposal at 5 p.m., Dec. 5 at City Hall.

The ordinance defines any engine brake as a hydraulically operated device that operates a power-producing diesel engine into a power

absorbing retarding mechanism that produces a noise that is “a loud, excessive noise.”

A compression release engine brake, frequently called a Jake brake or Jacobs’s brake, is an engine braking mechanism installed on some diesel engines. When activated, it opens exhaust valves in the cylinders after the compression cycle, releasing the compressed air trapped in the cylinders, and slowing the vehicle.

The air brakes are often used to prevent wear and tear of the brake pads on the “regular” brake system.

The ordinance would not apply to emergency vehicles like fire trucks.

If found in violation of the terms of the ordinance, a driver could be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to a fine not to exceed $500.

Ben Requet, with the city’s Planning Department, said the city is working with the Mississippi Department of Transportation to place signs on portions of the highways that run through Oxford advising drivers of the new law if passed. Other signs would need to be placed on other major roads inside the city limits.

“I think this would enhance the quality of life for our many residential neighborhoods near major roadways,” Requet said at the meeting.