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Making Noise over city signs


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MOUNT IDA – City officials have decided to remove engine braking signs after the city of Mount Ida was issued a cease and desist order from Jacobs Vehicle Systems, the trademark owners of the term “Jake Brake.”
According to Mount Ida Mayor Jo Childress, correspondence addressed to the city’s attorney, John Maddox, was sent to the city by Jacobs Vehicle System earlier in the month of June. The correspondence was in regards to warning signs posted at the city limits of town warning drivers to not use “engine, or Jake Brakes.”
The correspondence stated that they had been contacted by someone of the city’s use of their trademarked term, “Jake Brake,” and according to Childress, the letter stated that the issue had been turned over to their legal team.
Childress stated that she had turned the letter over to Maddox, and after discussing the issue with him, had decided to remove the signs from the roadways.
The city passed a noise ordinance shortly before Childress took office in 2005 and the signs were installed shortly after she took office. She stated that this was the first complaint the city has had regarding the use of the term “Jake Brake.”
According to information provided by Jacobs Vehicle Systems to the city, engine brakes are used on diesel powered vehicles to “convert a power producing engine into a power absorbing air compressor. The use of an engine brake reduces the load on traditional braking systems utilized on the axles and helps prevent brake overheating and fade.
Many times engine brakes are used when vehicles slow down on downhill grades, or when they slow down entering a town.
Known for their distinctive sound, engine brakes have been the target of numerous city ordinances across the country in response to noise complaints by residents. Childress stated that it was her understanding that was why Mount Ida passed the ordinance 12 years ago.
In the information provided by Jacobs Vehicle Systems it states, “Engine braking noise is a component of exhaust noise and is controlled by a functioning muffler. While there is not a large difference between engine brake and ecceleration sound levels, there is a very noticeable difference when the engine brake is not muffled.
The information stated that trucks without mufflers produce sound at 96-101 decibels, while trucks with properly installed mufflers produce 80-83 decibels.
EPA regulations state that all trucks built after Junauary 1, 1988, must not produce sound emmissions in excess of 80 dBA.
Jacobs Vehicle Systems recommended to the city that if they must display signs prohibiting the use of engine brakes that they avoid trademark infringement by using the term “Engine Brake” instead of “Jake Brake.”
Childress stated that she had informed her employees to remove the signs as soon as possible.

SOURCEDewayne Holloway
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