July 1, 2016
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: Central Pennsylvania has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet for allowing an onslaught of noise from cars, motorcycles, and trucks with no mufflers or modified exhausts. In central Pennsylvania, law-abiding citizens are having their peace and quiet violated by macho drivers looking to attract attention to themselves. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the police, and inspection stations should be shamed into action.
Barbara Williams is a resident of Snyder county, in the center of Pennsylvania. She notes that loud mufflers or vehicles with no exhausts “is a problem statewide. It’s been happening since the 1970s, so now about one in every ten vehicles violates state law.”
“So how did this happen?” Williams asks. The answer: “Because police don’t cite these drivers that rip off the stock exhaust and inspection stations keep passing them. Motorcycles, cars, pick-ups, and big rigs follow EPA guidelines as they leave the factory. Then knucklehead drivers go to a custom shop to buy and install non-compliant exhaust systems.”
Williams advises drivers to “see for yourselves and look online at Pennsylvania inspection rules, PUB 45. Police and inspection stations should already know all of these guidelines. You need a muffler on your vehicle, you can’t increase the sound of it, and you don’t have a single pipe up through the center of a pick-up truck bed. Only firefighting vehicles are exempt.”
Central Pennsylvania drivers, the police, the Department of Transportation, and state inspection stations continue to ignore exhaust system rules. PUB 45, Vehicle Equipment and Inspection Regulations, 175.5 states that “a vehicle specified under this subchapter shall be equipped with a muffler in good working order” and that “the exhaust system of a vehicle may not be modified in a manner which will amplify or increase noise above maximum levels.”
EPA regulations require that vehicles have stock mufflers once they leave the factory floor. However, after-market stores will sell you anything and custom shops will install whatever you want—in clear violation of state and federal law.
Pennsylvania state law specifies the following maximum noise levels for vehicles traveling on pavement accelerating to 35 mph:
-a motorcycle, under 84 db
-cars and pick-ups, under 88 db
-tractor trailers, under 78 dbs
Williams took some noise measurements of her own: “So what were some local readings? One motorcycle with no muffler read 91 db on my sound meter. A loud car with glass packs read 98 db. A diesel pick-up with cut-out pipe through the bed was 99 db. A local dig rig with big exhaust stacks but no muffler was over 99 db. These sample readings were not even the loudest examples out there, because they’re at random times on all sorts of roads, and traffic often gets in the way of readings.”
Pennsylvania state law gives police officers the right to inspect or test a vehicle, and the driver must let them test the loud exhaust. Police may obtain an OSHA- compliance type 2 decibel meter online for under $50. A police officer can keep it in their vehicle so they can use it routinely like radar. If they see an altered exhaust system or hear a vehicle so much louder than stock vehicles, the police should pull them over. If a motorcycle has no muffler, he’s too loud. If a car has glass packs, he made his exhaust louder, the police should measure it. If a pick-up has one big exhaust pipe up through the bed, that placement is illegal, it has no muffler, and it’s above decibel limits.
According to Williams, “People shouldn’t have to hear loud exhausts inside their homes with the windows shut. Go to the races to hear loud exhausts. Or we could publish license plates or carrier’s names of offenders.”
“So what’s the major malfunction with enforcement?” said Williams.” Any policeman can pull you over if they see and hear an altered exhaust. After all, you shouldn’t have an inspection sticker validated if you have no muffler, it’s louder than stock, or in an illegal placement. Fine the drivers and garages and loud exhaust will cease to exist!
Charles Hockenbrochtce, another resident of Snyder county, agrees with Barbara Williams about the noise from cars, motorcycles, and trucks with no muffler or a modified exhaust: “Some trucks go by and don’t make any more noise than a car. Why can’t all trucks run as quietly? The same goes for motorcycles. I rode a motorcycle for about 30 years and my motorcycle never made any noise. I kept the standard muffler on them and they were always quiet. It’s just not necessary to make that much noise. It would be nice if it was a little quieter.
Ted Rueter, director of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, commented that “the nation is increasingly overrun with extreme noise from loud exhausts. Many people seem not to realize that this noise is the result of deliberate action by vehicle owners. Many people seem not to realize that removing or altering an exhaust for the purpose of making additional noise is a violation of federal and state law. The police, state transportation departments, and state inspection stations should do their job, enforce the noise laws, and allow Americans to live in peace and quiet.”
Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a national citizens’ organization devoted to peace and quiet. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the Pennsylvania Harley Owners Group; the Johnstown, Pennsylvania “Thunder in the Valley” motorcycle rally; and the Erie, Pennsylvania “Roar on the Shore” motorcycle rally.