Posted: Feb 8, 2013 6:08 PM by Morgan Frances - MFrances@kristv.com
Updated: Feb 8, 2013 6:54 PM
BEE COUNTY - People in Beeville have complained to county officials about the noise from increasing big-rig traffic.
"They make a tremendous amount of noise," said John Kircher.
Kircher lives right next to FM 351 in Beeville. He moved to his home almost 30 years ago and while the highway was always there, the truck route was not. Now, his once quiet neighborhood isn't so quiet anymore.
"With the increased Eagle Ford Shale production, the oil field, we've see a dramatic increase in the number of vehicular traffic," said Lieutenant Ronny Jones with the Bee County Sheriff's Office.
With more truck traffic also comes a lot more of what's called "jake braking."
"We didn't have much trouble with the engine braking until the oil field traffic increased so much," said Kircher.
So what exactly is Jake (or engine) braking?
When most people want to slow down, they just use the brake pedal. When truck drivers activate "jake braking," however, they use the compression in the exhaust system to slow down their vehicle. That saves a lot of wear and tear on their brake pads but it's also pretty loud.
That noise made from jake braking is so loud that it wakes people up in the middle of the night. Kichner said he has kind of accepted the noise made by jake braking but Bee County Commissioners haven't. After a number of complaints the county is putting up about 20 signs.
The signs will urge truck drivers passing through Skidmore, Beeville, Pettus and a few other towns to just brake like the rest of us. Commissioners say if that doesn't work they may have to outlaw jake braking altogether.
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