Boise Ordinance Dials Down Muffler Noise 

Boise City Council considers a double-down on downtown crackdown.

Mufflers are sometimes anything but.

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Mufflers are sometimes anything but.

Boise police got an earful in May 2016, when business owners and residents complained about excessive noise from modified mufflers on vehicles driving through downtown. At the time, BPD said it would step up enforcement of existing city code prohibiting noise "plainly audible upon a public right-of-way or street at a distance of 100 feet or more."

Now, in anticipation of an influx of downtown residents filling multiple apartment/condo developments still under construction, the Boise City Council is preparing to double down on its crackdown.

The city clerk's office has proposed an ordinance amending Boise City Code Title 10, which would add a new chapter entitled "excessive exhaust and muffler noise." Violators would be slapped with a $100 fine, not including court costs or fees.

"Disturbing, excessive or offensive motor vehicle noise, smoke, or exhaust interferes with a person's right to enjoy life and property," reads the ordinance, which goes on to state its purpose as promoting "the public health, comfort, and convenience of the City's inhabitants and its visitors."

The new rule would outlaw any sound made by a motor vehicle exceeding 92 decibels "from a distance of not less than 20 feet to the side of the motor vehicle".The ordinance also requires every motor vehicle operated within city limits to be equipped with a muffler "in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive noise and smoke" and makes it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with a disconnected or modified muffler system.

The only exemptions to the proposed ordinance are for vehicles driven solely on private property, commercial vehicles exempt from emissions testing or antique motor vehicles used in exhibitions or club activities.

City Clerk Craig Croner said the ordinance should "serve as a more functional enforcement tool for the Boise Police Department, and to address issues that hindered successful prosecution under State Code."


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