By Steve Woodhouse
The Marion County Board of Supervisors approved the first reading of an ordinance that would impose a $200 fine on a driver found to be using engine brakes within the county.
The proposed ordinance reads as follows:
26.01 Purpose. The purpose of this Chapter of the Code of Ordinance is to prohibit excessive vehicle noise, including noise from trucks using engine retarding brakes, and adopting by reference Iowa Code section 321.436.
26.02 Definitions. For the purposes of this ordinance the following words and phrases are defined as follows.
1. “Engine retarding brake” means a “Dynamic Brake,” “Jake Brake,” “Jacobs Brake,” “C-Brake,” “Paccar Brake,” transmission brake or any other engine retarding brake system that alters the normal compression of the engine and subsequently releases that compression.
2. “Abnormal or excessive noise” means (a) distinct and loudly audible noise that unreasonably annoys, disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort and repose of any person or precludes their enjoyment of property or affects their property’s value, or (b) noise in excess of that permitted by Iowa Code section 321.436, as it may be amended from time to time, requiring every motor vehicle to be equipped with a muffler in good working order to prevent excessive or unusual noise.
1. Except in cases of emergency, it shall be unlawful for the operator of any truck to intentionally use an engine retarding brake on any public highway, street, parking lot or alley within the county that causes abnormal or excessive noise.
2. It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge the exhaust or permit the discharge of exhaust from any motor vehicle through a muffler that fails to prevent abnormal or excessive noise.
Signage. Signs stating “VEHICLE NOISE LAWS ENFORCED” or “ENGINE BRAKE ORDINANCE ENFORCED” may be installed at locations deemed appropriate by the Board of Supervisors to advise motorists of the prohibitions contained in this ordinance, except that no sign stating “VEHICLE NOISE LAWS ENFORCED” or “ENGINE BRAKE ORDINANCE ENFORCED” shall be installed on a state highway without a permit from the Iowa Department of Transportation. The provisions of this ordinance shall be in full force and effect even if no signs are installed.
Penalties. Any person, firm or corporation who violates any provision of this ordinance shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a civil infraction and punished by a $200 fine.
The supervisors held a public hearing, in which no comments were received, prior to voting to approve the first reading. Supervisors Craig Agan suggested the board wait to waive the second and third readings, and provide final approval, until such time as the public had more time to review the ordinance. The second reading should be on the next regular supervisors' agenda. That meeting will be held Monday, Dec. 24, at 8:30 a.m.