I don’t think there is a person in America who cannot recall hearing a vehicle speed along with a muffler problem.   Is there a law on how loud a vehicle can be, however?

Kansas has a statute requiring noise suppression systems and it is under KSA 8-1739.  This statute says that every vehicle not only needs to be equipped with a muffler or other noise suppressing system, but that it must also be in working order.  We have all heard the “extra” noise making devices some drivers put on their cars, however, so aren’t these in conflict?

I have no direct answer.  I often wonder if it is a statute not enforced as much given the sheer number of vehicles that would need to be stopped.  For prosecutors, this is another statute that seems to be all about discretion.  How noisy is too noisy?  Is it in proper working order or not?  With no clear answer, the decision might be a  bit more subjective than a prosecutor would like.

For the defense, it seems strict liability does come into play in that the vehicle must have a noise suppression device, but what about if it has one, but it is alleged to be not in proper working order?  What if it has a proper muffler, but excessive noise is still made?  Who gets to decide?

The legislators clearly have an intent to prevent automobiles from getting too noisy.  However, there does not seem to be an incredible amount of guidance past the requirment to have a muffler and maintain it.  This might be something that is rearely enforced, however.

Until next time, drive safe!