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Queens Lawmakers Introduce Bill That Would Double Fines for Loud Vehicles

A red sports car spitting flames from an exhaust (Photo: Oscar Sutton via Unsplash)

May 10, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

More than a dozen councilmembers– including three from Queens–have introduced legislation that would ramp up fines for drivers of noisy vehicles.

The bill—sponsored by 17 councilmembers including Queens representatives Sandra Ung, Linda Lee and Lynn C. Schulman—would double the existing penalties for motorists who drive with loud exhausts or excessively honk their horns. Fines for drivers using illegal sound devices on their vehicles would also be increased two-fold.

The legislation aims to tackle noise pollution by targeting disorderly drivers generating ear-splitting sounds. Minimum fines would start at $300 and climb as high as $6,000 for repeat offenders.

Ung, who represents District 20 in Flushing, said that hiking the fines would send a message that unruly behavior by motorists will not be tolerated.

“Drivers who make illegal and excessively loud retrofits to their vehicles and then speed through our communities late at night have no business on our streets,” Ung said.

“Excessive noise isn’t just a quality-of-life nuisance, it also causes serious health issues due to stress and loss of sleep, as well as negatively impacts our children.”

Queens councilmembers Sandra Ung and Linda Lee

Queens councilmembers Sandra Ung (L) and Linda Lee (R) have co-introduced legislation that would increase fines for drivers of noisy vehicles. (Photos: NYC Council and Lee for NYC Council)

The lawmakers, citing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said that excessive noise can cause countless other adverse health effects including high blood pressure, speech interference and hearing loss.

Under the legislation, drivers whose exhausts or mufflers can be heard more than 150 feet away would be hit with a civil penalty of up to $1,050 for a first offense – up from $525 — increasing to as much as $3,150 for a third violation.

Drivers who honk their horns for reasons other than an emergency will also be targeted with a fine of up to $2,000 for a first offense – up from $1,000 — to a maximum of $6,000 for a third violation.

Lastly, drivers using air horns installed on a vehicle could be hit with fines up to $3,950 for multiple violations.

The lawmakers say that their legislation complements the 2021 passage of the New York State SLEEP Act, which raised the penalties for auto shops that perform any illegal modifications of mufflers and exhaust systems that allow cars and motorcycles to become noisier.

Lee said that these laws seek to bring some peace and quiet back to neighborhoods.

“Excessive and obnoxious vehicle noise is the bane of families’ existence across Eastern Queens,” said Lee, who represents District 23.

“These vehicles and their drivers are causing real harm to our environment, health, and overall quality of life.”

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14 Comments

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Identity politics is for losers

If they start enforcing such a law and it turns out the perps are of a certain demographic profile, the cries of “racism!” will immediately begin. Guaranteed.

Just like when they went after turnstile jumpers.

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Interesting hypothetical...

Funny, you’re the only one that mentioned “identity politics,” sounds like you’ve got a real axe to grind 😂 Would you prefer something more politically correct?

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Lucky number 7 train

why dont they triple it it doesnt matter because it wont be enforced and there are no consequences for not paying traffic tickets. remember

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Going Deaf

This can’t happen quickly enough.
Why are only three Queens Council members signed on?

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Gullible Republicans believe myths fairytales and conspiracy theories

Yeah Geo, people blasting stereos and removing exhaust system from their vehicles, making them loud enough to trigger a heart attack should just be left to their inconsiderate and intimidating behavior. They have absolutely no respect and should be held accountable. Their disregard for their neighbors is why these laws need to be passed. It’s long over due.

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Joe

Idiotic comment above . You know what actually targets everyone in the community unfairly ? It is having to be a victim to the ear-shattering, fabricated noise of a single individual’s car at all hours of the day and night .

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yes, but

I fully support this idea. These fart cars are ridiculous. However, I worry it won’t actually be enforced. After all, how many people have actually been fined for not wearing masks on the subway?

I encourage people to keep calling 311, though. Maybe they will finally do something about the noise.

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Neziah Bliss

Been saying this for years. I wish they would crack down on the loud cars and bikes. It’s usually not even people from the community doing it. People come in from Long Island and NJ with loud vehicles half the time just to rip it up without a care for what city living entails. For those of us close to the Blvd it’s non-stop. Garbage trucks= fine. Buses= fine. 99% of all vehicles and traffic = fine. But then the one dude from the burbs with an illegally altered muscle car that purposefully backfires and has no muffler that screams down streets at 3am and shakes your building, sets off every car alarm, and wakes your young kids = yeah, I won’t miss that. That bro can stay on the island or get a hefty fine.

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Sam

Clearly sounds to me that nothing with be done. Cops will be accused of targeting people of color and rap music!!

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