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Thread: 2019 California noise limits

  1. #1
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    Default 2019 California noise limits

    I was speaking to a couple of fellows at the Gardena C&C yesterday and the topic of noise limits came up. Apparently, California introduced a new policy as of January 1st, 2019. The new limit is 95 db as "observed" by a law enforcement officer. Instead of the old "fixit" $25 ticket of yore, the law now requires the issuing of a ticket between the minimum ($197) up to over $1000! The officer will have no testing equipment upon which to base this infraction. There is no provision for pre-certification either. Once you have paid your fine, you can make an appointment with a BAR (Bureau of Automotive Repair) station for testing (this is where you took your car for it's emissions waiver as the final step in the SB100 process). Only they can issue you a certification of noise level. There is a charge (undetermined) for this test. Take the certificate (presuming you passed) and your receipt back to the court clerk for reimbursement. You can dig into the BAR website for the testing criteria. There are various db apps for Iphone and Android devices. Most manufacturers cars rarely exceed 75 db. There are separate rules for motorcycles. I know of a couple of fellows currently changing mufflers on cars like ours. I'm testing my Birkin ( 2.3l Duratec) tomorrow and will post the results.

    My understanding is that this is pretty discretionary for the cops. It is most likely intended to give them a another tool for dealing with street racers and ___holes. At this potential cost point though, it pays to be aware and prepared.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by papak View Post
    I was speaking to a couple of fellows at the Gardena C&C yesterday and the topic of noise limits came up. Apparently, California introduced a new policy as of January 1st, 2019. The new limit is 95 db as "observed" by a law enforcement officer. Instead of the old "fixit" $25 ticket of yore, the law now requires the issuing of a ticket between the minimum ($197) up to over $1000! The officer will have no testing equipment upon which to base this infraction. There is no provision for pre-certification either. Once you have paid your fine, you can make an appointment with a BAR (Bureau of Automotive Repair) station for testing (this is where you took your car for it's emissions waiver as the final step in the SB100 process). Only they can issue you a certification of noise level. There is a charge (undetermined) for this test. Take the certificate (presuming you passed) and your receipt back to the court clerk for reimbursement. You can dig into the BAR website for the testing criteria. There are various db apps for Iphone and Android devices. Most manufacturers cars rarely exceed 75 db. There are separate rules for motorcycles. I know of a couple of fellows currently changing mufflers on cars like ours. I'm testing my Birkin ( 2.3l Duratec) tomorrow and will post the results.

    My understanding is that this is pretty discretionary for the cops. It is most likely intended to give them a another tool for dealing with street racers and ___holes. At this potential cost point though, it pays to be aware and prepared.
    IIRC, the industry standard for noise measurements is 1 meter from the source. Closer than that will give you an artificially high noise reading.
    Westfield SEiW
    Done building, now grinning

  3. #3
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    The SCCA typically limits sound to 100dB for Solo. As I recall this is measured at 50' perpendicular to the path of the car when the car is at WOT.....typically tested just after the start where drivers will be using WOT.

    The idea that any officer could tell the difference between 95 and something like 97 is a joke. I totally get the need to limit noise and support it but this seems like it's ripe for bringing to court and challenging the basic law based purely on the subjective feelings of a well intended cop.

    dave

  4. #4
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    I have a dB app on my I-phone. Typically, my home db is under 40. At a recent crowded office holiday party in a small venue it was spiking at 115, with no music, just yakking.
    '97 Caterham Super Sprint, 1700 Crossflow-sold
    '09 Birkin S3, Duratec-sold
    '03 Caterham Zetec track car

  5. #5
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    I got bored one day and measured various things around the house and shop. Here they are, all 3 ft from the source, and all dBA. The A scale is most appropriate for hearing sensitivity and loss. I used a dedicated Radio Shack sound level meter, not a phone app.
    Fridge: 40
    dishwasher: 51
    breadmaker: 61
    variable speed range hood: 51 to 61
    dust collector (woodworking shop): 84
    Rigid shop vac: 92
    Craftsman shop vac: 94

    If I use the shop vac for more than a few seconds, I wear hearing protection.
    Westfield SEiW
    Done building, now grinning

  6. #6
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    This is then basics of the testing procedure used by the BAR (CCR 1036):

    - Indoors or outdoors, flat surface, no sound reflecting surface within 10' of any part of the vehicle.
    - The microphone shall be at the same height as the center of the exhaust outlet but no lower that 8".
    - the microphone shall be placed parallel to the ground, 20" from the nearest edge of the exhaust outlet and 45 degrees from the axis of the outlet.
    - engine at normal operating temperature with the transmission in neutral. The measurement will be taken at of the maximum RPM or at 3000rpm for pre-1972 cars where there is no maximum rpm data available.
    - Not to exceed 95db!

  7. #7
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    Jun 2013
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    N. California
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    So I can set the soft limiter at 3000rpm. That should be pretty quiet .

    One of my students said her brother and a few friends were cited last week, but the details she had were limited. I'd be very curious about the circumstances!

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