Carmel City Council to consider banning loud truck brakes, riding on the outside of vehicles

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The Carmel City Council will consider several new ordinances at its this evening’s council meeting. It’s expected to be short meeting  and several new items are expected to go to committee for discussion or will be tabled until a later meeting so the councilors can take time to consider the matters.

GOLF CART ORDINANCE

“This ordinance regulates riding on the outside of moving motor vehicles.”

Carmel City Council President Ron Carter has proposed an ordinance that bans riding on the outside of moving motor vehicles, with government vehicles being exempt.

Initially, some members of the community told me that they immediately assumed this ordinance was aimed at Ray’s Trash Service. Ray’s has drivers hanging on the outside of trucks to stop and pick up trash cans. Republic Services, Ray’s Main competitor, uses a mechanical arm to pick up special trash cans. In a well-publicized city council meeting, the council voted 5-2 to eliminate an “opt-out” for residential trash collection, when means all Carmel residents would have to use the city’s preferred company. As of now, Republic is that company, although there’s a chance that Ray’s could win the contract the next time it’s bid out at the end of the year.

Even some members of OneZone, which is the combined forces of the Carmel and Fishers chambers of commerce, have told me that they are concerned about the wording of this ordinance because of what it could mean for Ray’s, which also does considerable business for commercial and office properties.

Carter tells me that’s not the intent.

“No, it’s not aimed at Ray’s at all,” he said.

He said the point of the ordinance is to target golf carts, which have sometimes have been carrying too many passengers, leading some to ride on the outside.

“We’ve gotten increasing requests from people, especially in the Village of West Clay, to clarify the usage of golf carts in the city,” he said. “Especially youth, they’ve been riding six or seven people on a golf cart and that presents a safety problem. There are lots of kids using golf carts and especially loading it up too much.”

He said nationwide there are around 15,000 golf cart accidents a year, often due to too many passengers on golf carts.

“A comprehensive golf cart ordinance is coming soon after this,” he said.

At the same time, Carter said garbage trucks could be affected by this ordinance.

“I don’t know that they would be exempt,” he said. “I haven’t looked into that. That wasn’t the intention when we crafted this ordinance.”

LOUD BRAKE ORDINANCE

“This ordinance is intended to regulate the unnecessary use of auxiliary braking systems, used primarily on heavy trucks, in order to cut the noise level within the City,” Carter said.

Carter said this ordinance applies to heavy semis, and local delivery and garbage trucks. What the ordinance does is ban the use — not having them, just the use — of auxiliary braking system in Carmel city limits past a certain decibel level.

Carter said the problem with auxiliary brakes is that they can make a loud noise when they are used. That compressed air can be very loud, even producing jet-engine noise levels. Carter said they do make newer versions of auxiliary brakes that are much quieter. The ordinance sets an 85 decibel limit when measured 50 feet from the sound source or can be heard from a distance greater of 100 feet from the sound source.

The penalty could be up to $500, according to the ordinance’s text.

“In Carmel, as in other communities without many hills, these kinds of brakes aren’t particularly needed,” Carter said.

Carter said homes near U.S. 31 have been affected by these braking systems. He said much of that was when trucks had to stop at a stop light on U.S. 31 and the thought was that loud braking would go away once the roundabouts were put in. That hasn’t been the case.

“Unfortunately, there are truckers who will use (the) auxiliary braking system at all hours (of) day or night and that’s disturbing to people living in those condos there,” he said.


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