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Laguna Beach Officials Ask Newsom to Sign California Bill to Cut Noise From Modified Vehicles

City officials of Laguna Beach, California, voiced their support last week for a state bill that would address noise created by vehicles with illegally modified exhaust, in hopes that Gov. Gavin Newsom will sign it into law by the end of the month.

“Every Californian deserves to live in a community that is free from noise pollution that negatively impacts health and quality of life,” said bill author Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine), whose district covers Laguna Beach, in a Sept. 14 statement. “We’re … adding an enforcement mechanism to ensure that violators are actually required to fix these illegal modifications and eliminate noise pollution.”

Existing law allows police officers to issue “fix-it” tickets that require drivers to pay fines, appear in court, and remove illegal equipment from their cars—without asking them to prove the noise issue has been addressed.

AB 2496 would require drivers to submit a “proof of compliance” to show that they have fixed their cars within three months of the date of violation. Otherwise, the Department of Motor Vehicles can prevent a car’s registration from being renewed.

“Reducing noise pollution is a top priority for improving our resident’s quality of life,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf in the statement. “[AB 2496] will give our local law enforcement efforts more teeth.”

The bill also eliminates an existing exemption for motorcyclists from “fix-it” tickets.

American Bikers Aimed Toward Education of California, a motorcyclists’ advocacy group, opposes the bill, saying there are way fewer registered motorcycles than cars and trucks.

“Motorcycles do not contribute enough [noise] pollution as they travel [compared with a car or truck],” the group argued in an Aug. 24 bill analysis by the Assembly.

Alongside Laguna Beach—according to the city’s spokesperson—the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the cities of Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, and Newport Beach also helped draft the bill.

“[AB 2496] is important and will help us take our efforts a step further to finally address loud vehicles with modified exhaust impacting residents throughout Orange County,” Laguna Beach Police Chief Jeff Calvert said in the statement.

The legislation will take effect by 2027 if signed by the governor.

Julianne Foster

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