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New York Issues Misleading Message as Exhaust Noise Legislation Takes Effect

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

In advance of a change in New York’s exhaust noise law taking effect on April 1, 2022, a notification letter signed by the New York DMV Commissioner was sent to automotive retailers and vehicle inspectors in the state. Unfortunately, the letter is misleading and contains overly broad statements about what the new law does. SEMA is actively working with the DMV to clarify its guidance and address the industry’s concerns.

These are the facts: in 2021, the New York state legislature enacted a bill into law—the SLEEP Act—aiming to crack down on excessively loud vehicles. The new law doesn’t change the state’s existing exhaust noise laws, which require every motor vehicle to be equipped with a muffler in working condition and prohibits the installation of bypasses, cutouts or similar devices. Comparable language is used by states across the country and is designed to prevent motorists from deleting their muffler and/or catalytic converter. The new law simply allows police to write larger fines for those breaking existing law.

Thanks to SEMA’s efforts, the initial bill was amended to remove the unreasonable provisions prior to passage. The amended bill was then approved by Governor Kathy Hochul in late October, with the law going into effect on April 1, 2022. SEMA is working to ensure there is no confusion about the provisions of the new law and more information is available on the SEMA Action Network’s “Fact vs. Fiction” webpage.

For further details, contact Christian Robinson at