Police Officer Preparation & Law Enforcement Resource - Archive
The REAL POLICE FORUM is a leading community of police officers and law enforcement professionals. The forum includes police chat and restricted areas for police officers only. The ask-a-cop area allows you to ask questions to real police officers and only verified police are allowed to respond. REALPOLICE.com also features law enforcement jobs, news, training materials and expert articles.
07-10-12, 11:10 AM
I posted in the new member introduction area, but in case anyone missed it, my name is Chris and I live in Tampa, FL.
My question is regarding how law enforcement determines the legality of modifications, specifically exhaust, in the state of florida.
The situation: My girlfriend drive a 2002 Toyota Celica GTS with the TRD Action Package (Believe me I hate this car lol). She was pulled over yesterday for not wearing her seat belt (dumb on her part) and for an illegally modified exhaust system. From what I know about her car and have been able to find online, this TRD package provided the exhaust with the car. In the 10 years she's owned the car, this is the first time she's been pulled over for this offense. When she told me the situation, she said the officer was not using any radar gun or anything obvious to get her speed. I know their are db limits for exhaust, but how is it determined and why do I constantly see motorcycles and other vehicles with exhausts much louder than hers? Thanks for your time with answering my question!
Department: State Trooper
Area: University of South Florida
Let me know if you need anything else.
07-10-12, 11:58 PM
I used to work at an Off Road accessories shop. We installed exhaust on vehicle's and would sometimes start the vehicles without the mufflers. My boss used to also install hollowed out catalytic converter's and strait pipe systems, which are both illegal for use on a public road. Its not illegal to have a vehicle with the mods i have listed its only illegal to operate them on a public roadway. Because of my previous type of work I know what vehcles with those type of exhaust sound like. The trooper stopped her for the seat belt and also believed the exhaust was an issue. Take it to the court and ask. Simply put, the Trooper reasonably believes the exhaust is to loud. I looked up a video of a celica with TRD exhaust and it doesnt sound very loud at all. I dont see why she got a ticket for it unless there is a hole in the exhaust or someone replaced the cats with hollowed out ones.
07-11-12, 01:10 AM
If I can hear it, it's illegal under our noise ordinance. However, if you can prove that the exhaust was provided OEM, you could probably have it dismissed in court.
07-11-12, 09:43 AM
TexasCop: Thanks for your reply. Yea, I am really not sure why it was a guaranteed ticket, opposed to verifying, but I had also assumed it to be aftermarket before I researched the package.
McNulty: Thanks for your reply as well. I am going to look into the appropriate paperwork she can show the judge. I am still rather curious how Harley's get away with having such loud exhausts if just being able to hear the exhaust is illegal.
If it makes my ears ring after you pass, its too loud... Here, its actually easier to enforce the local ordinance for noise than the state staute for loud exhaust. Not sure why you brought up the fact of not having a radar "gun" to get her speed. You said she got stopped for seat belt, not speed. Also, just because the trooper wasnt holding a hand held radar or laser doesn't mean he didnt have one. Almost all of them have a radar unit installed on their dash and they also have hand held laser. They can get your speed on laser from 1000+ feet away, you would never even see them holding it. He would have already had to time to set it down, get another sip of his coffee, turn down the music, put the car in drive and wait for you to pass. As far as the exhaust, if by sound or sight it appears to be modified illegally OR rusted that exhaust is not being filtered through the cats and mufflers than the statute fits.
316.272 Exhaust systems, prevention of noise.—
(1) Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with an exhaust system in good working order and in constant operation, including muffler, manifold pipe, and tailpiping to prevent excessive or unusual noise. In no event shall an exhaust system allow noise at a level which exceeds a maximum decibel level to be established by regulation of the Department of Environmental Protection as provided in s. 403.061(11) in cooperation with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. No person shall use a muffler cutout, bypass or similar device upon a vehicle on a highway.
(2) The engine and power mechanism of every motor vehicle shall be so equipped and adjusted as to prevent the escape of excessive fumes or smoke.
(3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318
07-11-12, 09:55 AM
Thanks for your reply Maz. It definitely does not make your ears ring. It is louder than stock, but still quieter than the majority of aftermarket exhausts. I had brought up the radar gun because I was not sure if that also had a sound measuring device on it. Looking back, I didn't put that into my original posting. So how would they go about measuring the actual db output of the exhaust, or is it just a determination by the LEO?
07-11-12, 10:24 AM
I think the muffler issue has been answered, but to further answer the question of how LE can determine if it exceeds any statute or "city/county ordinance" the answer is simple. Not all but most agencies have at least one or more "handheld" decible readers. For instance I carry a Department issued one just about every night during our summer months. We have several large clubs on one of our "Islands" and city residents complain that they are violating the cities noise ordinance. A lot of the sound travels across the bay and "echos" along the shoreline. I can simply take the meter to the are of the complaint and if it is above the cities noise ordinance I can actually charge the "manager" of the club not in my jurisdiction with the actual violation.
That was a simple example of how an "ordinance" can be enforced.
The same type of measuring device can is is used on mufflers. In all honesty the exhaust may not "seem" loud to you but anything other than "factory" exhaust usually is in violation believe it or not.
It will depend entirely on the ordinace "decible" level.
As for radar/laser units measuring sound the answer is no, they measure speed and distance.
As stated in another answer, the technology of today's laser units is amazing, basically if I can see the glimmer of your vehicle in the distance I can measure your speed and even with the best detector you wouldnt even know I did it.
Also in Florida, tickets can be issued for speeding without the Officer actually using a "device" to measure it. Based on an Officer's experience and training they can cite you for "exceeding the posted speed".
07-11-12, 10:33 AM
CPL1897: Thanks for your reply! Everything you just said answered all of my questions! Exactly what I was looking for!