Performance Brands Unite to Challenge California Exhaust Law

A coalition of 13 companies that manufacture and sell performance products has formed with the goal of raising awareness and opposition to changes made to a California law regulating exhaust decibel levels.

An amendment to California Assembly Bill 1824 (AB 1824) was proposed last June by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, as part of the state’s budget process. The law’s original purpose was to allow law officers to enforce a 95-decibel stationary sound volume limit for passenger cars and light trucks. Prior to Jan. 1, motorists deemed in violation of the law received what is commonly known as a fix-it ticket, which allowed them 30 days to correct the issue. Starting this year, however, motorists cited for violating the law can receive an immediate fine, ranging up to $1,000.

The industry coalition formed to contest these changes to the law includes aFe, AWE, Borla, Corsa, Invidia, Kooks, Magnaflow, MBRP, Tanabe, TurboXS, Turn 14 Distribution, Vibrant Performance and Turn5.

“On-the-scene $1,000 citations are being given out to Californians without decibel testing or other compliance tests creating a guilty if we say so atmosphere that is not conducive to selling exhaust components in the state of California, which represents 12.2 percent of the USA,” said Jon Pulli, CEO of Turn 14 Distirbution. “The major issue with this bill as it stands is that it relies on subjective measures to determine compliance.”

The coalition has called upon SEMA to leverage its legal and legislative resources to challenge the newly enacted AB 1824 rules. Leaders from each company voiced their concerns surrounding the exhaust law in a letter delivered to the SEMA Board of Directors on Feb. 8. The new penalty method has great potential to negatively affect law-abiding drivers in the state of California, and, by extension, to potentially harm the SEMA membership base, according to the coalition.

“The recent changes to the (AB 1824) have produced a guilty until proven innocent situation, scaring drivers from making legal modifications to their vehicles,” said Todd Sager, organizer of the coalition and president of AWE. “Our goal as a group, at the very least, is to make standardization mandatory when it comes to testing suspected violations. Standardization will require California law officers to conduct a roadside SAE J1492 test, the procedure referred to in the bill, rather than permitting error-prone discretion to be the method by which to determine violation.”

Contact Sager for more information by emailing or calling 215-658-1875.

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