Modified exhaust systems are obnoxious and illegal. They’re on those little cars that zoom past your house and sound like a 100 Harley Davidsons at full throttle. You hear them for blocks as they wind down to the next stop sign. This new activity seems to be spreading fast. These cars are easy for the police to spot and ticket. Can we please get some enforcement of this law?
Grinding my teeth in Gilroy
Red Phone could not agree more, good caller, on noisy mufflers! According to Jason Smith, public information officer of the Gilroy Police Department (GPD), “The California Vehicle Code (CVC) has many laws covering exhaust systems, to combat smog and air pollution.”
Is it illegal, asks Red Phone? Smith said, “The primary CVC sections patrol and traffic officers issue citations for are: 27150 (a) CVC—Defective, inadequate or no muffler, and 27151(a) & (b) CVC—Exhaust system modified to emit excessive noise.”
Smith explained: “Typically when we find a vehicle with a modified exhaust tip, we may find other illegal exhaust modifications. The GPD has hosted two California Highway Patrol Street Racer Enforcement classes in 2016 which covers what to look for in these modified vehicles. If we find these illegal modifications, the owner must restore the engine and exhaust system to a legal state and get it approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
“Many after-market exhaust system components have CARB stickers,” he says, but the entire system must be tested by a CARB technician to be approved. Most drivers don’t go through this process.”
If a police officer issues a citation and refers the driver to CARB, Smith said, “The driver is responsible for the cost of returning the vehicle to compliance as well as paying for the certifications. If the driver fails to make the corrections and to get the ticket signed off by an officer, it is treated as a failure to appear in court for a violation. The court then determines the fines and penalties.”
Smith said there are currently no abatement/educational programs in Gilroy for loud exhausts. “These violations are handled as we come across them. Traffic and patrol Officers do stop and cite these vehicles as time allows. Traffic officers specifically are most concerned with enforcement of vehicle code sections that, when violated, are the primary cause of collisions. These are called primary collision factor violations. Some of these are speeding, right-of-way and intersection type violations. These types of violations, and traffic around schools, are the primary complaints we receive at the police department.”
So, good caller, although there are laws on the books and police officers do enforce these laws, there are priorities for the safety of our citizens, and unfortunately for our ears, noise abatement is not the highest priority. Red Phone suggests that if you can identify these noisy cars in your neighborhood, call the police department and maybe you’ll get lucky when they are not so busy.