NY increases penalties on noisy, illegal mufflers

Posted 30 October 2021 at 11:23 am

Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office

Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday signed legislation that increases penalties against motorists and repair shops that illegally modify mufflers and exhaust systems to make them excessively noisy — an act associated with aggressive driving that harms community health, safety and comfort.

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.

“Every New Yorker deserves to feel safe and comfortable in their community, and that includes cracking down on excessively noisy vehicles on our streets,” Governor Hochul said. “This legislation deters drivers from installing illegal vehicle equipment that results in dangerous noise levels that can contribute to hearing loss and increased emissions.”

With an increasing number of drivers making muffler and exhaust system modifications that increase noise and pollution levels, this legislation will protect both public health and the environment.

This legislation not only creates a deterrent for vehicle owners to make these modifications with the newly increased fines, but it also deters repair shop owners from making these modifications. If repair shop owners willfully violate this legislation and install illegal vehicle equipment three times within 18 months, they risk losing their certificate of inspection stations and operating certificate. These measures will help prevent dangerous noise levels that can damage bystanders’ hearing, as well as decrease harmful emissions being released.

Bay Ridge Advocates Keeping Everyone Safe (BRAKES) Founder, Maureen Landers said, “Modified exhaust systems serve no purpose other than to create fear, chaos and intimidation. The SLEEP Act is a major step in reducing noise pollution and addressing the reckless driving that coexists with modified vehicles.”