Legislature passes SLEEP Act to ban loud vehicles

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WABC) — Cars and motorcycles so loud that you feel the vibrations in your body when they pass by have long plagued New Yorkers, especially those who live in a city or near a busy road. But a law that passed both houses of the Legislature in the last budget session is designed to turn down the volume by banning devices that make souped-up vehicles so loud.

“Folks across New York can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they won’t be kept up at night by excessively loud mufflers and exhaust systems,” said state Sen. Andrew Gounardes—who co-sponsored the bill alongside state Sen. Shelley Mayer—in a written statement. “This is a quality of life issue that has plagued our community and placed an undue burden on our neighbors for no logical reason other than to simply make noise.”

The Stop Loud and Excessive Exhaust Pollution (SLEEP) Act specifically bans selling or installing devices that increase the sound of a muffler on a motor vehicle or motorcycle. It would also increase fines for such modifications from $150 to $1,000 if signed by admitted car enthusiast Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has not yet signaled whether he will sign the bill.

“The problem of souped-up vehicles during COVID and before has been a serious problem throughout the state,” said Mayer.

“I don’t think it affects a lot of people, anywhere,” said Owner of Albany Light Truck and Car Repair Joseph Gentile. The auto repair shop owner said police have better things to do than chase down loud vehicles. He’s also not optimistic Cuomo will sign the bill into law. “There’s a lot of vehicles on the road that may have alternate exhaust. What are they going to do, go spend money they probably don’t have to replace their exhaust system?”

Motorcyclists or drivers who are caught operating an altered vehicle could also face a $500 fine. The bill also requires the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to deny or revoke vehicle inspection licenses to businesses that violate muffler regulations more than twice—or willfully—within 18 months.

“People are tired of the noise of soup-up cars,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins at a press event in Yonkers. “They are tired of the endless battle for sleep.”

“It’s just a major quality of life issue and I’m glad that the state is being proactive in addressing it,” said Councilman Owusu Anane.

The Albany councilman said he gets calls from annoyed constituents from his ward about this very issue. The lawmaker agrees it may be difficult to police, but said it will help clamp down on nuisance drivers.

“These laws are a good-step measure to curb the quality-of-life issues that we are witnessing across the whole state,” Anane said.

If the governor does sign the “SLEEP Act” into law, Gentile said it should be tailored for newer cars.

“There’s got to be some fair way to bring this in because they’ve allowed this for 30, 40 years” Gentile said.

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