Crackdown on modified mufflers

By Balford Henry
Observer senior reporter

Friday, November 22, 2019

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THE Island Traffic Authority (ITA) will be taking steps to reduce the noise from modified exhaust systems used by some motor vehicles.

The intended move follows mounting complaints from citizens about the noise from both motorcycles and motor cars exhaust systems, which have been modified for that purpose.

An exhaust system is usually piping used to guide reaction exhaust gases away from a controlled combustion inside an engine. The entire system conveys burnt gases from the engine and includes one or more exhaust pipe.

Mufflers are used to reduce the sound waves coming out of an exhaust, without restricting the flow of exhaust gases. However, some drivers, and especially those with motorcycles, modify the system to give off loud, sometimes frightening sounds like firearm discharges, which are considered a nuisance by citizens.

In September, Opposition Member of Parliament Ronald Thwaites (Central Kingston) tabled questions in William Gordon House in Kingston asking Minister of Transport and Mining, Robert Montague what the Government plans to do about the noise nuisance?'

“Will the Minister of Transport and Mining please state what measures he will take to prevent the increasingly common practice of motor cyclists and motor car owners to modify the exhaust mechanism on their vehicle to make increased noise, thus violating everyone's right to a peaceful and quiet life? Thwaites asked.

In his answers, which were tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Montague responded that, while the ITA cannot prevent the modification of the exhaust system on motorcycles and motor cars, it will curtail/impact the number of modified vehicles on the road.

Montague said that the ITA will do so by:

(1) “Withholding the Certification of Fitness — Whenever a motor vehicle is examined and a modified exhaust system is detected, the owner of the vehicle will be asked to rectify this before a Certificate of Fitness is issued; and,

(2) Removal of registration plates — Whenever a motor vehicle with this type of modified exhaust system is identified, their registration plates will be removed. These will be returned only when the vehicle is presented at an examination depot with the problem rectified.

However, the Minister's response pointed out that it should be noted that the noise nuisance has posed a challenge to the ITA, as the exhaust systems, especially those fitted to motorcycles, can be easily removed and replaced.

“Of all categories of motor vehicles, motorcycles are responsible for most of the noise nuisance,” the Minister noted.

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