Defenses That A Trucker Can Use After Getting A Ticket For Using An Engine Brake

Commercial truckers don't solely rely on their wheel brakes to slow their big rigs down. These heavy-duty vehicles are also equipped with engine brakes, which can be valuable for reducing speed. The unfortunate by-product of using an engine brake is a considerable amount of noise, which is why many jurisdictions prevent its use in certain areas and between certain hours. If you're a truck driver who has recently received a traffic ticket for using your engine brake in a prohibited zone, you may want to hire a traffic attorney to fight this charge. Here are some defenses that may be worthwhile to pursue.

The Prohibited Zone Wasn't Evident

Zones that prohibit truck drivers from using engine brakes are usually marked with signs. For example, a sign might inform the trucker that he or she is entering such a zone and that the use of engine brakes will be prohibited for five miles. It's possible that you didn't see this sign, and this could be because of a reason beyond your control. For example, if a tree that was growing next to the sign wasn't adequately trimmed, its branches could have dangled over the face of the sign and obscured the words. A photo of this sign from multiple angles will be instrumental in arguing this point.

The Grade Was More Than Expected

Truck drivers often use their engine brakes when they're traveling down a steep grade, as this function can be integral to keeping the vehicle and its heavy cargo traveling at a safe speed. Generally, truckers are allowed to use their engine brakes on steep grades, but it's possible that a jurisdiction has a difficult situation — a steep grade and a newly placed rule prohibiting the use of engine brakes. You may want to build a case around engine brakes being needed on this stretch of road, perhaps by involving a variety of trucking experts to help get the law changed.

You Had A Tire Failure

If you've had a tire blow, you need to be immediately concerned with getting your truck stopped quickly. The lack of grip that a blown-out tire provides means that doing so can be difficult, and it may have been necessary for you to engage the engine brake to compensate for your extended stopping distance because of the tire. Your traffic attorney will argue that you made the only logical decision that was possible, given the circumstances, and that this shouldn't deserve a ticket.

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