We are all aware of car and motorcycle enthusiasts who modify their muffler and exhaust systems on their vehicles to obtain better performance or better sounding vehicles (and have heard the sound generated from these modified exhaust systems). You have also likely been on a roadway in New York and seen bumper stickers with the slogan “Loud Pipes Saves Lives”. Apparently, Governor Hochul disagrees with these enthusiasts and with these slogans.
On October 29, 2021, Governor Hochul signed BillS784B, which increases “enforcement against motorists and repair shops that illegally modify mufflers and exhaust systems to make them excessively noisy for motor vehicles and motorcycles.”[i] This bill goes into effect on April 1, 2022.[ii] “This bill amends vehicle and traffic law, increasing fines and penalties and creating stricter regulations on vehicle equipment. Maximum fines for installing illegal equipment will be raised to $1,000, an $850 increase. Inspection stations will also be required to inspect motorcycles to ensure mufflers and exhausts have not been illegally modified.”[iii]
This new bill will have an impact on both the enthusiasts and the repair shops who sell, install and service such vehicles.[iv] As part of this law, inspection stations must inspect the motorcycle exhaust systems to ensure compliance. Inspection stations who willfully fail to inspect a motorcycle exhaust system for compliance run the risk of their operating certificate being suspended.[v]
With the proliferation of electric vehicles, noise pollution from motor vehicles will be less of an issue, that is, until some car or motorcycle enthusiast figures out a way to increase performance of such vehicles and to make them sound better.
For further information, please contact Christopher E. Vatter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[v] Id. (“Section three of the bill amends Subdivision (e) of section 303 of the vehicle and traffic law to provide that the Commissioner of Transportation shall suspend or revoke the certificate of inspection stations upon a third or subsequent willful violation, all within a period of eighteen months, of any rule or regulation of the commissioner requiring an inspection station to inspect the muffler or exhaust system of a motorcycle as set forth in subdivision (c) of section 79.28 of title 15 of the codes, rules and regulations of the state of New York.”).