I constantly get asked and see people asking about stop lamps coming on with Jake brakes
There seams to be some misunderstanding and propaganda going on. So let's clear the air
It is illegal to activate stop lamps by any means except the brake solenoid (a.k.a. brake pedal)
It's that simple . No matter what horse poop anyone tried to say that's the law
I got into it with kenworth dealership manager and corporate head office , I brought in cvse(commercial vehicle safety enforcement) or dot as many know them and they sided with me and now in my area all the trucks magicly stoped having Jake's activate stop lamps (all done hush hush like).
Jake brakes and exhaust brakes are not part of the engineered braking system not all trucks and busses have them , they are illegal to use in most city's and residential areas and as such are not mandatory install and why they are not allowed to activate the stop lamps.
The best reason I think to explain WHY THEY SHOULD NOT ACTI VATE stop lamps is as follows , I have had this happen so I know from experience.
Example: not all people drive in hilly or mountains so may not even think of this but consider this;
It's night time You drive over the top of a long graded hill, say 6% grade for 5miles for simplicity sake , you start jaking or using engine brake at top of hill and Jake/engine brake entire duration down hill,
A 4 wheel car or truck catches up and comes over hill after you started down hill your stop lamps are activated and remain so, as vechicle behind catches up an animal runs out in front requiring you to do an emergency stop as fast as you can, vechicle behind unable to see an animal ran out as its night and to dark, you slam on brakes , car behind thinks your maintaining speed....... Wham they hit you........guess who's at fault ......you are , in a legal battle especially if someone dies(all fatality collisions have commercial vechicle torn down and examined, so computer will show stop lamps on for some time before accident) it will be claimed that your stop lamps were not working properly (if you had dash cam going it would show no change in stop lamp brightness) and so you are at fault as the accident would likely not have happened had they known you were braking.
Again I had a similar event happen as I live and work in mountains so I am always coming and going down long graded hills, lucky no accident happened and no one hurt or killed, but IT WILL HAPPEN and the law suit will be enormous, problem is you the owner and or driver of vechicle is at fault and sued first as it is your responsibility to know the law, you then have to sue the manufacturer who will likely VERY QUIETLY have all vechicles auto switched off and that part removed in update head off any lawsuit brought against them and it will be far more costly to you the operator to go after manufacturer then the one who sues you after accident.
Honestly I have made manufactures aware of this and sent copies of legislation to them with full details , dot cvse will not interseed until people get killed as to much money at stake to recall every vechicle with Jake's or engine brakes and reprogram.
Know the law it's you the are liable first and dealerships an manufacturer can spread what ever propaganda they want but in a court case they WILL LOSE EVERYTIME and so will you if your vechicle is set up that way and are in an accident
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On the other hand, the powerful jake brakes, as they are these days, can slow down a light loaded truck pretty rapidly too, without any warning to the vehicles that follow. After all, the jake brakes activated are slowing a truck down, the same effect can be accomplished by constantly applying the brake pedal. Maybe it is not so dumb to signal that process regardless of what brakes are being used.
It is hard to say what is better.
Besides, the motorists should not have monochromatic vision and be able to tell stop lights from tail lights. Keeping following distance is a must too.
I don't know about the law regulating it but the more I think of it, maybe indeed, the jake brakes should be signaled as the are engaged. Yeah, I think this is a good idea, actually. If you say that the law prohibits it, then it should should be revised.Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
From what I was told it was brought about because of all the accidents in city's where I agree it can slow you enough to cause an accident but again ITS ILLEGAL TO USE THEM IN THE CITY so there you have the issue of the operator not following the law, for over 40yrs Jake's and engines have been out without issues , there is no legitimate safety reason to have them activated with Jake's or engine brakes , the only reason is to allow people to use those "add on " features illegally
I am trying to think whether or not it makes sense to signal the engagement of jake brakes in general and I am inclining to idea that it could be more beneficial than not. Having said that, I could not hate more seeing the brake lights on and off, on and off, every 3 seconds from a vehicle in front of me.Cabinover101 Thanks this.
There is also what's called burping the Jake's,
It's old school during that is not used or taught much but highly effective.
On icy conditions going down hill you set Jake's to run 2-4 cylinders only depending on set up and let them come on few a couple seconds then off and repeat , this allows you to slow down without locking up tires, in this road condition if a person behind driving a rig that's new to driving or in experiemced seen brake lights go on and off they might do the same thinking your using brakes and hit there locking up and causing loss of control and possible accident including a head on collision as trucks and loss of control rarely fair well for small vechicle and hard to stay in lane
Also I think biggest reason is profit......
Think about it, if you have Jake's activate stop lamps and they come on and off a lot a cop or dot can easily tell you have them on pull you over and fine you!
We can do this till the cows come home there is no example any Person including engineers that have been given that can not be countered and point to city use of Jake's and engine brakes. It's far simpler and less likely to take even 1 life by enforcing laws in city's then trying to prevent minor city accidents at the cost of high risk high speed hiway accedents
Another thing is our brains are conditioned to slow down and stop when stop lamps are activated , our reaction time to stop is partially based on that pre-programming, if stop lamps don't come on due to Jake's being on for awhile then one does not immediately know a brake application is happening and again outside of 35mph and lower Jake's and engine brakes do not slow you down that fast, the heavier you are the less they work, a Bobtail truck (semi with no trailer being pulled) will slow the fastest of all combinations and with full (all cylinders )Jake's and engine brakes together on only add up to you applying slight brake pressure and if you only used them to stop the truck it would take well over 3 miles to slow down from 60mph to 15mph , longer with a trailer and load behind it so it is no comparison to using brake pedal in any way. And realisticly if people used proper distance which I rarely see done a truck jaking at city speeds should still not cause an accident , again come back to quality of drivers behind the wheel and people need to rush everywhere following to close.
The same can not be said for having stop lamps stay on and then brakes applied hard , there is no warning to signal driver behind that you are in fact trying to stop
Stop lamps are to let people know you are slowing or slowing down fast , Jake's and engine brake are a" braking aid "by design and not an actual brake, and taking foot of accelerator at max rpm on a engine with fuel rack system has same effect as Jake's and engine brake so by people theory that they slow you down so should have lamps turn on , then simple releasing accelerator pedal should have stop lamps come on. It's the same thing .
We need to think about worse case scenario, thereiss more to lose by having Jake's and engine brakes active stop lamps then by not .
very interesting topic my new KW's have the jakes turning the brake lights on and I did like it because i can bring a loaded truck off the freeway and never touch the service brake until the last 50' so I thought it would be a good idea but I do see the liability now.
I think I have seen a fix for this I have seen fire trucks and ambulances have brake lights that flash but that may not be legal for a none emergency vehicle, so the brakes lights would flash with the jakes or service brakes.
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