Bernardston considers banning big rigs from using “jake brakes”

The select board and Town Council would need to approve the bylaw

BERNARDSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Several Massachusetts towns and cities have passed bylaws to ban trucks from using one of their brakes. Now the Franklin County town of Bernardston is thinking of doing the same.

The town is thinking about prohibiting tractor trailers from using their compression engine brake, which is also called a “jake brake.” The jake brake helps a big rig slow down, but is not used to stop the vehicle.

Its usually very noisy, and its become an annoyance for people in Bernardston living near the I-91 off-ramp in town. About 20 residents wrote a petition, asking the town to ban jake braking.

“Of course, during the day sometimes it’s very loud,” resident Tom Newton said. “And like any resident, you want your peace and quiet. If there’s something that can be done, fine.”

Bernardston Town Coordinator Hugh Campbell told 22News they are trying to decide whether to ban trucks from jake braking when entering from a neighboring town or just coming off the highway.

Both the select board and Town Council would need to approve the bylaw.

Fines range from $200 to $300 in towns that have passed a jake brake bylaw.