N.Y. lawmakers exhausted by muffler modifications, want stiffer fines for excessive noise

ALBANY — A pair of Brooklyn lawmakers say they’re tired of moronic motorists terrorizing New York streets with deafeningly loud mufflers and exhaust systems.

N.Y. State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and City Councilman Justin Brannan, both Democrats who represent parts of Bay Ridge, have penned a bill that would increase fines for modifying mufflers and ensure cops can measure decibels levels.

The measure is being dubbed the Stop Loud and Excessive Exhaust Pollution, or SLEEP, Act in a nod to the lawmakers’ neighbors who say they can’t get a good night’s rest thanks to a recent surge in drag racing and revving engines.

“Our legislation will curtail this anti-social and dangerous behavior and let neighbors get some sleep once and for all,” Gounardes told the Daily News. “Times are stressful and the last thing families need when trying to get some hard-earned sleep is outrageously loud gratuitous noise keeping them up all night.”

Currently, motorheads who make noisy after-market mods to exhaust systems face a $150 fine. Gounardes and Brannan want to up the penalty to $1,000 per violation.

The proposed legislation would also set a measurable, maximum allowed noise limit of 95 decibels, and requires all police vehicles to be equipped with a decibel-reading device.

Existing law requires police to determine whether the noise is “excessive or unusual,” which the lawmakers say is a vague and arbitrary standard. The bill will make it easier for cops to enforce the law, and give them a valuable tool for “removing excessively noisy and polluting vehicles from our streets.”

Brannan will introduce the bill as a resolution at the city level.

“Anyone who purposely modifies their exhaust system so it sounds like a goddamn machine gun is not only desperate for attention but also clearly overcompensating for something else,” he said. “This bill will hopefully make these idiots think twice and bring some peace and quiet back to our neighborhoods at night.”

The proposal comes weeks after another auto-related measure was introduced to crack down on illegal street racing by expanding the city’s speed camera program and making it easier to hold reckless drivers accountable.

Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Queens) introduced a bill earlier this month that would authorize the city to extend the hours that existing speed cameras are in operation in areas known for drag racing.

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