NZTA is working with the Road Transport Association NZ, Log Transport Safety Council and National Road Carriers to reduce engine braking noise. An initial trial, costing $100,000, is taking place on SH2 Takitimu Drive near the Elizabeth St roundabout in Tauranga whereby a camera which responds to the noise of engine braking will snap trucks.
Around 1% of NZ’s truck fleet has the old-style ‘Jake brake’ of engine braking (mostly in older American-built trucks). It’s a kind of compression braking which use the engine to reduce the load on the brakes, but also increases engine noise considerably. At open road speeds engine braking is important to avoid brake fade, especially when a truck is fully laden, but it’s not usually needed at speeds below 80kph. Newer trucks have systems which don’t increase engine noise when braking.
Residents of Takitimu Drive have complained in the past of truck drivers using engine braking during the night and, despite the introduction of signs, not all drivers have been taking heed. NZTA will trial the camera in this area, then move it to other areas as required. No indication of the fines or penalties for being photographed has been given by NZTA.
More information can be found here.