Saanich councillor Teale Phelps Bondaroff says anyone awakened by an after-market muffler in the middle of the night can’t do much about it.
“They’re not going to get on the phone and call bylaw enforcement. By now the car’s miles away in some unknown direction,” he said, standing on the corner of Cloverdale Avenue and Blanshard Street.
It’s because of what Phelps Bondaroff refers to as “noise pollution” that he’s pitching a pilot project to have noise cameras installed at select Saanich intersections. He says they operate similar to speed cameras.
“When a vehicle goes past it with an after-market muffler or loud exhaust, it takes a photo and an audio recording and they’re calibrated to know how loud that vehicle is, and they can issue them a ticket,” he said.
Ryan Burghardt owns Budget Brake and Muffler in Victoria and says loud mufflers are making a comeback. He describes the average customer for after-market muffler systems as males between 18 and 29 years old looking to make their vehicles more performance-sounding.
“Sometimes you want to make it sound like you’ve got something a little bigger down there than you actually do,” said Burghardt.
He adds that customers who modify their mufflers often come back to have the stock system reinstalled.
“We had a guy in his mid-40s come in about a week ago, saying he wanted it a little louder. His wife made him come back the next day and put it all back to stock,” said Burghardt.
Police can issue tiered tickets to vehicles deemed too loud. Regular cars are allowed 83 decibels, while industrial diesel vehicles are allowed up to 93 decibels.
Tickets are $109, but Burghardt says some cases require the car to be towed and the entire system to be replaced at great expense. He encourages anyone with a muffler deemed too loud to bring it in for a stock replacement.
“We’re happy to get paid to put it back on for you,” he said.