Anyone who is reading this probably doesn’t have their stock muffler on their car. Or maybe you just stumbled upon it and you are a tree hugging Prius owner… this is NOT for you. I am guessing anyone interested in this is probably running headers maybe even long tubes headers and some of you might be catless with a set of very nice looking and sounding mufflers. Hell, maybe some of you just have a harmless cat back.
Now we know in California that running headers that are NOT approved by C.A.R.B. (The California Air Resources Board - https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/) are illegal. We also know that removing your catalytic converter is an offense under Federal EPA law. Read more about that here: Rules for Replacing Converters
However, most of us car enthusiasts don’t want a boring, not to mention ugly muffler! We want something that looks good and also something that offers better performance too. I mean, I must admit that every once in a while it is nice to run under that tunnel and test the limits of how loud my exhaust is. Raise your hand if you have done that. For those that fall under this category, I come bearing bad news. Apparently the powers at be in California are sick of hearing your sweet exhaust notes and passed a new law that will fine you so they can pay for the California Debt!
As of of January 1, 2019 the new California Law says that you can no longer correct an excessively loud exhaust on an automobile or motorcycle. You will be fined!
The CHP (California Highway Patrol) took advantage of this to make it known on their Facebook Page. This was posted by the Antelope Valley CHP on Wednesday, January 2, 2019:
"New California Law for 2019. As of January 1, 2019, a modified exhaust on an automobile or motorcycle, excessively loud, can no longer be cited as a correctable violation. Assembly Bill AB1824 has taken away the opportunity to correct the violation and requires a citation for such violation to result in a fine only. In many cases may also result in a trip to the Bureau of Automotive Repair B.A.R. If you feel your vehicle is grossly negligent in this area, removing resonators, deleting mufflers etc. You know who you are. Don't waste your hard earned money on this violation. Drive safe everyone.
Here is the original posting
What's ironic about these photos in this post? Can you spot them? One looks like it’s at a race track, maybe Buttonwillow. Other images are cars from Japan and another was an old Photoshop image that has been floating around for years. Really guys?
Anyhow, anyone knows if they previously were pulled over by California’s Finest for an exhaust infraction they would get what's commonly called a "fix-it ticket" with a minimal processing fee.
Personally I’ve received a few of these in my lifetime for those minor vehicular violations: no front plate, tinted windows and even a few for excessive noise.
Excessive noise, sometimes called an “inadequate or improperly modified exhaust system”, was often checked off as a correctable violation. A correctable violation is just that, you would correct or fix the problem then take your car to the local police or CHP station and get it signed off. For second violations within a certain amount of time you would be fined between $75 to $150. For the second violation, you wouldn’t need to correct it, you would just pay the fine.
However back to what this is about, The passing of Assembly Bill No. 1824 California Assembly Bill (A.B.) 1824, which was signed into law by then-Governor Jerry Brown in June of 2018 went into effect this January 1, 2019. This assembly bill basically changed the usual practice of writing up a quick fix-it ticket for an exhaust noise violation to an uncorrectable violation with a fine.
Recently we have seen AB 1824 generate significant concern among the online automotive enthusiast community. Despite what is being circulated, including my own re-postings, funny memes and social postings like this one
View this post on Instagram
more on AB1824 for those who live in Comiefornia 😂🤣 coming to a state near you! 😜 “New California Law for 2019. As of January 1, 2019, a modified exhaust on an automobile or motorcycle, excessively loud, can no longer be cited as a correctable violation. Assembly Bill AB1824 has taken away the opportunity to correct the violation and requires a citation for such violation to result in a fine only. In many cases may also result in a trip to the Bureau of Automotive Repair B.A.R. If you feel your vehicle is grossly negligent in this area, removing resonators, deleting mufflers etc. You know who you are. Don't waste your hard earned money on this violation. Drive safe everyone.” Your Friendly Neighborhood California Highway Patrol 🚓 #onlya1000dollarfine #ab1824 #modifiedexhaust #loudexaustsmatter #meme 📹: @ajsdaddy1209 _______________________________________________________ #lspower #lsx #beastmode #horsepower #racecar #stance #carswithoutlimits #carsofinstagram #followme #maverickman #maverickmancarbon
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the enactment of AB 1824 does not actually change existing laws regarding exhaust noise or sale and installation of aftermarket exhaust systems. The exact vehicle code for the law (which is not mentioned in almost any article I have seen about AB 1824) is 27150 with subdivision 1 though 6 and Vehicle Code 27151 (a) which pertains to the AB 1824 bill. An exhaust being too loud is still, and always has been an issue with the boys in blue, or tan, in the case of the CHP. ;)
If you read the existing law it states:
“No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the motor of the vehicle so that the vehicle is not in compliance with the provisions of Section 27150 or exceeds the noise limits established for the type of vehicle in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 27200). No person shall operate a motor vehicle with an exhaust system so modified.
(b) For the purposes of exhaust systems installed on motor vehicles with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of less than 6,000 pounds, other than motorcycles, a sound level of 95 dbA or less, when tested in accordance with Society of Automotive Engineers Standard J1169 May 1998, complies with this section. Motor vehicle exhaust systems or parts thereof include, but are not limited to, non-original exhaust equipment.”You can look that up HERE yourself to be sure I have not reworded that.
As you can see, the laws haven’t changed. It is still illegal to run long lube headers, remove catalytic converters due to CARB, and have a loud exhaust. I think this is where some people are confused about AB 1824. AB 1824 only amends how excess exhaust noise violations are handled by law enforcement. This is where you should be mad! Starting Jaunary 2019 a vehicle cited for violating the current exhaust noise law will no longer receive what is known as a “fix-it” ticket as we discussed earlier. Instead, violations will result in an immediate fine. There have been many people stating that it is a $1000 fine however I could not find any proof or source for it. Only this one video recently posted on Instagram showing someone getting pulled over by the police for AB 1824. The officer in the video states the fine is $1000 and another $1000 for every other time they are pulled over there after.
View this post on Instagram
looks like the first AB1824 ticket on video. police says this is because of #takeovers and #streetracing 🚗: @ecat.v 📹: @fly_z34rick what would you do? #ab1824 #modifiedexhaust #notafixitticket #busted #whatyagonnadowhentheycomeforyou _______________________________________________________ #lspower #lsx #beastmode #horsepower #racecar #stance #carswithoutlimits #carsofinstagram #followme #maverickman #maverickmancarbon
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Either way it’s a fine and fines are not cheap!
AB 1824 states this:
"(4) Existing law provides that whenever any person is arrested for certain offenses, including, among other things, an infraction involving vehicle equipment, the arresting officer is required to permit the arrested person to execute a notice, prepared by the officer in triplicate, containing a promise to correct the violation and to deliver proof of correction to the issuing agency, unless the arresting officer finds that a disqualifying condition exists.
Existing law requires every motor vehicle subject to registration to be equipped with an adequate muffler in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise and prohibits a muffler or exhaust system from being equipped with a cutout, bypass, or similar device. Existing law further prohibits the modification of an exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner that will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the motor of the vehicle so that the vehicle exceeds existing noise limits.
This bill would include, among those conditions that are disqualifying, a violation of the above-described requirements related to mufflers and exhaust systems.”
Assembly Bill 1824
The key to the problem of this bill is the last paragraph.
“This bill would include, among those conditions that are disqualifying, a violation of the above-described requirements related to mufflers and exhaust systems.”
If you notice, AB 1824 says that the ticket cannot be dismissible even if there are disqualifying reasons behind it. The last time I checked The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11, states: "Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.". Okay, that might be a tad much but there is NO Due Process and THAT is what this bill prevents! The last paragraph in AB 1824 states that any reason(s) that may disqualify the infraction, doesn’t pertain anymore.
So wait, let me get this right. The officer or the courts don’t need to prove anything and you have to pay the fine? You are guilty because someone thought so without proof? Hold on here! Specialty Equipment Market Association also known as SEMA, worked with the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to allow courts to dismiss citations for exhaust systems that have been tested and for which a certificate of compliance has been issued demonstrating that their exhaust emits no more than 95-decibels.
But now this Bill states that it doesn’t matter, even though BAR says it okay.
Some of you may think that since you don’t live in California this would never happen in your state. Wrong! A very similar Vehicle Noise bill was trying to be put in place in Connecticut . That law would have required motor vehicles and devices to be operated, constructed and adjusted to prevent unnecessary or unusual noise. However the bill did not define what constituted unnecessary or unusual noise. SEMA therefore defeated legislation that would have provided an incentive to localities to increase the number of citations issued for violation of vehicle noise regulations.
In my opinion this is the issue with AB 1824. It’s not about the noise. It’s not about laws that are already in place. It's about an officer or a court making a determination without any means of proof. Nothing in AB 1824 defines or constitutes what exceeds existing noise limits and especially because AB 1824 states the ticket cannot be dismissible even if there are disqualifying reasons behind it.
There is a petition being shared on social media that is intended to try to persuade lawmakers to reconsider this change.
See It Here
Personally I highly doubt these law makers give a rats ass about our hobby and there is no guarantee that any petition will help. I guess you can sign it and maybe it will get noticed. However I do believe that SEMA will need to help fight AB 1824 for us since they know the ins and outs of other unreasonable laws that effect our hobby. Unfortunately SEMA hasn't really taken a firm stance against this so far and only put this up on their website.
Fact vs. Fiction: Explaining California’s New Exhaust Noise Law
This really doesn't help the situation because you still get the fine as stated in this blog. Maybe SEMA will look into it further? We can only hope.
In conclusion, I love to change out the exhaust on a new car I just brought home.
I drive it daily and I don’t think my exhaust is harming anyone. Okay, Okay… maybe my neighbor who says I am waking her 27 year old daughter up at 10:30 am because she is still sleeping when I cold start my car. :P
I also agree that some "automotive events" (which i won't point out exactly lol!) that take place on the public street when they shouldn't be. Those are probably the reasons for AB 1824. However, don’t punish the many for the few that that are irresponsible. Make laws that make sense, not laws that make someone feel good. I hope there is enough clear outcry for the correct steps to take place from the aftermarket community and maybe something will change.