If politicians were auto enthusiasts then we’d be all be smiling right now and driving our modified cars with little to no worries. Sadly, though, that isn’t the case, and what makes matters worse is that our political friends have no idea what our hobbies are about nor do they care to. Rather, the emphasis is on the big picture, and automobiles are seen as modes of transportation that contribute to pollution, so the people in power enact laws that help reduce harmful emissions. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m all for it. Despite not entirely agreeing with some of the policies, I want a planet that’s clean where future generations can enjoy it and do smoky burnouts when they please.
What grinds my gears is that some of these laws do more harm than good, particularly in California, where I have witnessed firsthand how specific rules are debilitating to the modified car culture.
Excessive noise is primarily a nuisance issue rather than a safety concern, and determination of excessive noise is subjective.
The problem stems from a lack of clear outlines and too many gray areas. Take for example the excessive noise bylaw. It states, “Excessive noise is primarily a nuisance issue rather than a safety concern, and determination of excessive noise is subjective. For this reason, enforcement personnel are to exercise sound, professional judgment in making a determination of violation.” So it raises the question, why not set a decibel limit or a certain minimum ride height? The same goes for engine swaps and modifications. Set guidelines that vehicles must adhere to and give enthusiasts and manufacturers something to work from. I’ll bet we’d see more “legal” cars on the road than offenders. Most of us want to enjoy our hobby without hassles from the law or state interference, but when we have no guidelines to follow then it makes it that much harder.
I realize there are some states that have it all figured out and others that are so lax you can straight-pipe your exhaust without worry. Here in California, where progressive, green, forward thinking is touted, something has to change because these laws are achieving the exact opposite of what the state is trying to do.
The task ahead is long and arduous, but if you feel your state laws are unjust, write your politician. You may think it’s futile, but it only takes one person to begin enacting change, and if there are enough of us, then perhaps the future of modified cars is a bright one.