ACTION REQUIRED—UPDATE: Virginia Exhaust Noise Bill Moves to Conference Committee

DON’T DELAY! Please contact members of the Conference Committee respectfully to make your opinions known on this issue:

You may use the following points in your message:

  • The current exhaust noise law is vague and unenforceable, as measuring each motor vehicle to its factory set muffler creates hundreds of exhaust noise standards on which to enforce.
  • Virginia should set one upper limit for exhaust noise—95 decibels—backed by an objective measurement system, instead of relying on subjective judgments.
  • Virginia needs to implement a working system with an objective testing procedure for determining if a vehicle’s exhaust system illegally amplifies the noise emitted by the motor vehicle.
  • Using an SAE International measurement standard would allow the state to definitively  prove guilt or innocence, replacing an unpredictable system that cannot objectively verify whether an exhaust system amplifies the noise emitted by the motor vehicle.

Overview: Virginia has introduced a bill (HB 632) in the 2022 legislative session to reform enforcement of its exhaust noise laws. However, the underlying laws are fundamentally flawed. Currently, Virginia prohibits mufflers that use an “excessive or unusual level of noise” and mandates that mufflers must be identical to their factory setting. The current law is unenforceable as it is vague, subjective, and unfair. After different versions of the bill passed each chamber of the legislature, a Conference Committee has been created to resolve the differences.

Virginia needs to implement a fair testing procedure and decibel limit for vehicle owners accused of unreasonable exhaust noise violations. Other states have adopted a decibel limit of 95 decibels when tested under and SAE International procedure, which provides a fair and reasonable working system. This SAN-supported SAE test is conducted in a controlled environment using objective methodology. This solution offers Virginia a clear standard with a proven record of success.