You Can Be Sued for Having a Loud Exhaust
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To some, a loud exhaust is a nuisance or a sign that it's time to go to the mechanic. For others, a modified exhaust is part of the joy of the road, making the car sound as powerful as it feels. If your car is too loud, however, it might cause unexpected problems, especially if you're driving in residential areas.
You won’t be covered by car insurance if you’re sued for having a loud exhaust. The Drive reported on a driver in California that’s being sued for exactly this reason.
Residents of Carlsbad, California served claims to the driver for reckless driving and an exhaust so loud that it disturbed neighborhood peace.
Car owner sued for risky driving and loud modifications
Two neighbors are suing Bryan Hillman, the owner of multiple BMWs that the neighbors said have loud modified mufflers. According to the lawsuit document, for more than five years, Hillman has affected the "quiet enjoyment of their home" with reckless driving and a loud exhaust.
They are suing the driver for a total of $15,000 for the loss of quiet and disruption in the neighborhood. One neighbor is suing for $10,000 in compensation: $2,000 per year for five years. The other is suing him for $5,000 under similar claims. The claims also noted that Hillman verbally abused his neighbors.
No car accidents were involved in these lawsuits and the neighbors would only be claiming money for noise disruption and dangerous driving.
Noise restrictions and regulations in California
The Homeowner’s Association (HOA) in a community often has rules regarding noise levels and manages complaints. Generally, they have designated quiet hours at night and a recommended noise level throughout the day. If your community doesn’t have an HOA, like in Carlsbad located in San Diego County, you can be sued instead.
As mentioned by The Drive, San Diego County has regulations against sudden or "impulsive" noises in residential areas. An impulsive noise exceeds 82 decibels, but you have to prove that the driver passed this noise level to make complaints.
According to Motor Trend, the driver in California may have violated two regulations under state law. In California, homeowners are given the right to protection from some level of noise in general, and they also have a specific law against loud exhausts.
If you're worried about your car's noise, it’s important to learn about specific rules for where you live. Presumably, you also want to have a good relationship with your neighbors.
Will you get sued for driving a loud car?
The story about being sued for a loud car may seem intimidating, but there are some things to understand about the case before getting too worried.
Firstly, this driver had been doing this for a long time and was allegedly also driving dangerously. This was not the case of a driver with an old, loud truck riding through the neighborhood. The lawsuits also state that the driver verbally intimidated the neighbors as well.
While the main focus of the issue seems to be the loud exhaust, other factors likely influenced the neighbors’ decision to take their complaints to court. As long as you're not trying to make as much noise as possible, you probably don’t have to worry about being sued. If you're into modding cars and like a louder exhaust, just make sure you're respectful and tone it down if your neighbors ask.
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