The Sound (of Vehicle Exhaust Kits) and the Fury (of Angelenos)

Annoyed L.A. residents have now seen a small victory in the fight against noise pollution after Gov. Newsom moved to get cars into compliance

The California state Assembly has finally taken steps to stifle the stupendous racket made by accelerating Harleys and barely street-legal supercars. Often that din is produced by aftermarket exhaust kits that push the noise generated well past the 75 decibels allowed by California law to 100 decibels or more. (For reference, a railroad locomotive horn blares at around 100 decibels.) In October, Governor Newsom signed into law AB 2496, authored by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.

The law stipulates that drivers ticketed for an illegally modified exhaust will be required to prove they have fixed the modifications within three months, or the state will have the authority to pull their vehicle registration.

Currently, those ticketed are required to bring their vehicles into compliance with the state’s existing noise law but are not mandated to show proof that the offending exhaust systems have been silenced. AB 2496 closes that loophole. Whether the law will make a significant dent in the din remains to be seen—police first have to pull over and cite the Thunderdome pretenders. But it’s a start.

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This article appears in the December 2022 issue of Los Angeles magazine