July 1 Improper Exhausts are a Primary Offense
Effective July 1st, 2022, Virginia law requires owners and drivers to operate their vehicles with an exhaust system in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual levels of noise. For motor vehicles, such exhaust systems shall be of a type installed as standard factory equipment or a comparable design. A police officer can stop and enforce this law as a primary offense.
A primary offense is a traffic violation, that on its own, an officer establishes reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop. A secondary offense is a violation that an officer can observe, but not pull over unless the officer observes a primary offense.
Loud cars have created a quality-of-life issue for many community members and have been identified as a public nuisance. Officers will rely on their training and experience to determine if a vehicle’s exhaust system fails to prevent such excessive noise, when compared to a standard factory design on such vehicle. Fairfax County code sections 82-1-6(46.2-1049) and 82-6-26 (Exhaust system in good working order required) have been amended to allow such enforcement.
Virginia Code § 46.2-1049,effective July 1, 2022
§ 46.2-1049. Exhaust system in good working order.
No person shall drive and no owner of a vehicle shall permit or allow the operation of any such vehicle on a highway unless it is equipped with an exhaust system in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual levels of noise, provided, however, that for motor vehicles, such exhaust system shall be of a type installed as standard factory equipment, or comparable to that designed for use on the particular vehicle as standard factory equipment or other equipment that has been submitted to and approved by the Superintendent or meets or exceeds the standards and specifications of the Society of Automotive Engineers, the American National Standards Institute, or the federal Department of Transportation.
As used in this section, “exhaust system” means all the parts of a vehicle through which the exhaust passes after leaving the engine block, including mufflers and other sound dissipative devices.
Chambered pipes are not an effective muffling device to prevent excessive or unusual noise, and any vehicle equipped with chambered pipes shall be deemed in violation of this section.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to (i) any antique motor vehicle licensed pursuant to § 46.2-730, provided that the engine is comparable to that designed as standard factory equipment for use on that particular vehicle, and the exhaust system is in good working order, or (ii) converted electric vehicles.
For additional information please visit here: https://lis.virginia.gov/lis.htm.