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Are there any laws regarding extremely loud tailpipes on cars and loud music in cars?

Ken Little

There are sections in the N.C. General Statutes (20-128) governing vehicle exhaust systems.

The law states: “No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway unless such motor vehicle is equipped with a muffler, or other exhaust system of the type installed at the time of manufacture, in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise, annoying smoke and smoke screens.”

Another part of the section states it’s unlawful “to use a muffler ‘cut-out’ on any motor vehicle upon a highway.”

Ordinances governing exhaust systems and noise are also on the books in New Hanover County.

Two sections of the county’s Code of Ordinances address loud tailpipes and music.

Section 23-38, which covers motor vehicles, states the following:

“It shall be unlawful to operate or allow the operation of any motor vehicle in the county which has had its muffler-exhaust and/or other noise control equipment removed, altered or maintained in such disrepair as to create loud and disturbing noises.”

Section 23-34 covers “sounds generally.” One part of the section specifically prohibits “the playing of any sound-magnifying device, radio, television, phonograph, amplifier system, tape deck, tape recorder, or musical instruments in such a manner or with such volume or as to create vibrations that annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of a reasonably prudent person.”

New Hanover County sheriff’s deputies would enforce the ordinances, County Attorney Wanda Copley said.

Section 6-29 of the noise control section of the city of Wilmington Code of Ordinances prohibits “operation of any motor vehicle with an improper muffler system.”

Part of Section 6-27 prohibits “any motorized vehicle fitted with external loudspeakers or so designed or modified as to project electronically amplified sound outside of the passenger area of the vehicle.”

City ordinances are enforced by Wilmington police and code enforcement officers.

Related links:

Why are motorcycles so loud, and why aren’t riders ticketed for noise violations?

I heard that all it takes to get a noise violation ticket is for someone to file/call in a complaint. Is this true?

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2 Responses to “ Are there any laws regarding extremely loud tailpipes on cars and loud music in cars?”

  1. On January 11, 2012 at 11:22 am GLENN McINTOSH wrote:

    If city police officers and code enforcement officers are to enforce the loud noise statute, then why have I seen numerous police officers sitting in their cars adjacent to obnoxious vibrating speakers in cars and do nothing about it?

  2. On January 17, 2012 at 10:19 am User wrote:

    Because they liked what was playing. THey would only ticket you if you played crappy music :)

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