Effective July 1, 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, Fairfax County police said.
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 traffic violation that, on its own, allows an officer to establish a reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop.
(A secondary offense is a violation that an officer can observe, but not pull over the vehicle unless the officer also 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, police said. 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 a vehicle.
Officials have modified Fairfax County code sections to allow for such enforcement.