A short time ago I noted with interest that the community of Harlem was banning the use of engine brakes by trucks. This is consistent with an ever-increasing number of cities, towns and suburban communities which have outlawed them due to the unacceptable, offensive level of noise they produce. Problem is, this is not the crux of the problem!
Engine brakes on trucks that have a properly muffled exhaust system, as they come from the manufacturer, produce a sound no more than 8 to 10 decibels higher that the normal operating range.
The loud, offensive noise levels are the result of drivers, whom professional drivers in the industry refer to as :Hoopees," removing the mufflers and installing 6- and even 8-inch straight pipes.
Rather than outlawing the use of the engine brakes, which provide an increased safety factor and lower the truck maintenance costs, we need a crackdown by the Georgia DOT and the EPA.
The Federal Highway Administration has an ongoing multi-million dollar program constructing sound barrier walls along the interstate highways in urban areas. The Hoopees find the resulting concrete canyons ideal for their enjoyment of the noise level. Perhaps they could achieve maximum enjoyment by directing the output end of the pipes inside the cab! There is a $10,000 fine for the removal of mufflers and additional fines by the EPA for the resulting noise level.
The newly constructed truck scales and inspection stations on I-20 provide one possible means of eliminating the noisemakers. Obviously the present occupants would require additional training. To date they have never mastered the hi-tech electronic controls of the traffic lights on the truck scales. For years these lights have simply remained on green. To a truck driver that simply means keep going, in every state in the country.
Should a driver attempt to do so at the Grovetown scales, the PA system will blare, stop-whoa-halt-STOP! No change in the green light.
Back to the Hoopees. How do our residents sort the Hoopees out from the professional drivers? First, by the offensive noise level. But here are some other ways to tell:
- If his truck has more lights on it than you have on your Christmas tree, he may be a Hoopee.
- If you see a red light inside the cab, it may be a rolling house of ill repute or he may be a Hoopee.
- If the number of antennas on the truck appear to be arranged to communicate with aliens, he may be a Hoopee.
- If you look back and the truck behind you has a grill cover that looks like the fangs of a wild beast, you have sighted a Hoopee!
John C. Mullen
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