January 1, 2011
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Edmond W. Martin
Albany: Sedgwick County, Kansas has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for being home to thousands of illegal exhausts, creating thunderous, obnoxious, and illegal noise. Because of the proliferation of illegal exhausts, there truly is no quiet in Kansas anymore.
Edmond W. Martin, a resident of Wichita, states that “we have thousands of illegal exhausts in our area, pounding away. We’ve got thousands of boom cars, blasting away. We have thousands of three- and four-wheeled ATVs on our streets, with even more illegal exhausts. The noise is ruining the quality of life in my hometown.”
The failure of Sedgwick County officials to take action against loud exhausts is in clear violation of Kansas state law. Section 8-1739 of the Kansas vehicle code states that “every vehicle shall be equipped, maintained, and operated so as to prevent excessive or unusual noise. Every motor vehicle at all times shall be equipped with a muffler or other effective noise-suppressing system in good working order and in constant operation, and no person shall use a muffler cut-out, bypass, or similar device.”
Martin notes that the avalanche of cars and motorcycles with illegal exhausts has damaged air quality in the area, causing ozone warnings: “Illegal exhausts leads to carbon monoxide deaths, poisoning, birth defects, and other sicknesses. Kansas and Sedgwick County officials only enforce these laws with school bus inspections. Why isn’t the law applied to all types of vehicle exhausts?”
In addition, Martin observes that the “loud pipes” crowd has created the myth that they benefit the community: “Gangs, drunks, drug addicts, and criminals openly participate in motorcycle rides with their illegal exhausts. These rides are nothing but collections of noise criminals. Gang rides have blinded Sedgwick County officials to the fact that massive noise is created, laws are broken, traffic is delayed, and more accidents occur.”
Martin has been addressing the illegal exhaust situation in Wichita for many years. He has given law enforcement officials case laws supporting enforcement against illegal exhausts. He offered the entire county a way to simply enforce laws against illegal exhausts and avoid EPA fines or alerts. He received no response.
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, states that “Kansas used to be quiet. The entire country used to be quiet. It is shameful that elected officials and the police have allowed illegal exhausts and boom cars to ruin the nation’s soundscape. A motorcycle ride to support Toys for Tots does not justify the destruction of peace and quiet. It does not justify breaking state and local laws. Kansas officials should enforce their own laws. Kansas officials should quiet down these noisemakers.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Fort Worth, Texas; Roseville, Michigan; and Madison, Wisconsin.