Law preventing excessive noise from modified motor vehicles by increasing fines signed by governor

Close-up of car exhaust pipe
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A new law has been signed to increase enforcement against motorists and repair shops that illegally modify mufflers and exhaust systems which make motor vehicles “exceptionally noisy.”

The fine for selling, offering for sale or installation of modified mufflers would be upwards of $1,000 — an $850 increase — according to the Senate bill (S784B). The new law will go into effect on April 1, 2022.

Governor Kathy Hochul signed the legislation this month, sponsored by Brooklyn state Senator Andrew Gounardes and co-sponsored by Queens Senator Joseph Addabbo.

“My office receives numerous constituent complaints pertaining to noise, including residents in areas where illegal street drag racing takes place,” Addabbo said. “Loud and excessive motor vehicle noise is not only annoying, it has become a quality-of-life issue which can contribute to hearing loss in exposed individuals of all ages.”

For enforcement, inspection stations will be required to inspect motorcycles to ensure mufflers and exhausts have not been illegally modified. This new law deters both vehicle owners and repair shops. If repair shops willfully violate this legislation three times within 18 months, they can lose their operating certificate.

The bill details the justification for the legislation by detailing how the illegal mufflers increase the noise and pollution levels emitted. The World Health Organization is cited in the bill, as they have labeled excessive noise as an “underestimated threat.”

“In a country where one in four people will suffer from hearing, it represents an undue burden on people that do not have the resources to protect themselves from it,” the bill states.