Excessive noise: Police can ticket drivers with loud exhaust systems, mufflers

Virginia law requires drivers to operate their vehicles with an exhaust system in good working...
Virginia law requires drivers to operate their vehicles with an exhaust system in good working order while preventing excessive or unusual levels of noise.(khunkorn via canva)
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 3:50 PM CDT
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FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (Gray News) - The calendar has turned to July and some new laws are going into effect.

In Virginia, one such law starting July 1 enables law enforcement to stop drivers operating a vehicle with improper exhausts.

The Fairfax County Police Department reports Virginia state law requires owners and drivers to operate their vehicles with an exhaust system in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise levels.

According to authorities, motor vehicles’ exhaust systems should be standard factory equipment or a similar design. A police officer can stop and enforce this law as a primary offense.

Officials said a primary offense is a traffic violation, that an officer establishes reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop on its own.

The department shared that loud cars have created a quality-of-life issue for many community members and have been identified as a public nuisance.

Officers said they would rely on their training and experience to determine if a vehicle’s exhaust system fails to prevent excessive noise when compared to a standard factory design.

Select Fairfax County code sections have been amended to allow such enforcement.

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