In 2003, a version of SEMA-model legislation to create an enforceable motor vehicle exhaust noise standard was signed into law in Maine. Prior to 2003, Maine deemed illegal all modifications that increased noise levels above that emitted by the vehicle’s original muffler. Under the SEMA model, an exhaust system modification is legal if it results in a sound level of 95 decibels or less as measured by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) test standard J1169.
Last year, the law was again amended to clarify the statutory language and to require the Department of Public Safety (Bureau of State Police) to convene a working group to study issues relating to all road noise, including noise created when an exhaust system is not properly installed or maintained or is altered. In its recommendations to the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation, the group indicated that recent efforts have resulted in reduced road noise and has urged that monitoring be undertaken as well as educational efforts by the stakeholders before any additional measures are taken to further restrict the installation of aftermarket exhaust systems.