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MAYORWatch: Are There Any Laws or Ordinances Regarding Excessive Engine Noise?

Mayor Michael Victorino answers weekly questions submitted to his office staff.

Question: Can you please tell me if we have any laws or ordinances here on Maui concerning excessive engine noise from motor vehicles? Seems like many people have been allowed to alter their mufflers (especially, but not exclusively, two-wheeled vehicles).

Answer: Mahalo for your question and I will try to answer it to the best of my ability.

Maui County Codes define a muffler as a device with the purpose of receiving exhaust gas and controlling exhaust noise from the motor of a motor vehicle. No person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public highway or street unless the vehicle is equipped at all times with a muffler in good working order that prevents the escape of excessive smoke and excessive or unusual noise.

Motors and/or exhaust systems also must be properly equipped and adjusted to prevent excessive or unusual noise. These noise issues extend to alterations/modifications of mufflers, motors and exhaust systems, and motor vehicles cannot be equipped with a dummy muffler, cutout, by-pass or other similar device.

Additionally, state law does address exhaust systems through the Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection Program. The inspection covers exhaust system condition, damage, installation, leakage of gas and missing or exposed parts. No certificate of inspection shall be issued if these issues and others exist.

Unfortunately, state law does not address noise levels for two-wheeled vehicles such as motorcycles. State law does address mopeds, though, providing failure criteria for combustion engines.

These failure criteria include exhaust systems modified to increase speed or noise and an outdoor sound level test to provide objective evidence of excessive noise. No exhaust system shall be modified to amplify or increase the noise emitted by the engine above that emitted by the system originally installed on a moped.

Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email [email protected]

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