Muffler, vehicle noise laws under review
Eugene Dumont knew he'd have problems with the $100 car he bought to drive to appointments at the local Veterans Affairs Medical Center. But he wasn't happy when the cost of the 1986 Plymouth Duster nearly doubled. Fargo police issued him a warni...
Eugene Dumont knew he'd have problems with the $100 car he bought to drive to appointments at the local Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
But he wasn't happy when the cost of the 1986 Plymouth Duster nearly doubled. Fargo police issued him a warning ticket for a defective muffler and required him to fix it.
He spent $90 on repairs. "So now I have a $190 car," said Dumont, who is a Vietnam veteran and disabled.
He also wasn't happy about what he considered conflicting city noise regulations. He believes the muffler and noise ordinances are "overly broad, ambiguous and vague."
Fargo's traffic code requires that vehicles have mufflers in good working order to prevent "excessive and unusual noise and annoying smoke."
Meanwhile, the city has a separate rule limiting noise levels for vehicles and sets the maximum decibels heard at
Other noise control regulations prohibit people from making a "loud, unnecessary or unusual noise."
"Normally, if I'd have had the time and the energy, I'd have fought that all the way to the North Dakota Supreme Court," Dumont said.
Instead, he fixed his muffler and asked city commissioners this week to either repeal or rewrite the muffler rule.
Police Chief Keith Ternes said he was already working on changes to the city noise violations. City commissioners directed him to continue.
Some of the ordinances are subjective, though there are cases in which noise is clearly loud and unnecessary, Ternes said. There are also rules that prohibit certain noises at specific times, but only in the downtown area.
Ternes isn't sure when proposed changes will be completed.
"It's not a high priority right now," he said.
The department doesn't issue motorists many noise violations, Ternes said.
Officers are directed to focus on violations that contribute to traffic crashes, Ternes said. Defective mufflers, loud noises or burned out headlights generally don't contribute, he said.
"It's not a case of where police officers are simply ignoring those violations," Ternes said.
Dumont said he may have gotten a ticket even if the ordinances were written differently.
"More than likely I would have," he said, "because it was noisy."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556 Muffler, vehicle noise laws under review Andrea Domaskin 20071028