Senator Portantino’s Bill to Curb Noise Pollution Passes Senate Judiciary Committee


Throughout the end of April and early this month Glendale police officers have made several arrests for reckless driving and racing. In a recent GPD release there were eight arrests from April 19 to May 9 concerning illegal speed contests and reckless driving.

In addition to speeding, the GPD Traffic Unit is citing drivers of vehicles with modified exhaust. The problem of modified exhausts is not only a Glendale issue but is a statewide concern. Recently State Senator Anthony Portantino’s bill 1079 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Portantinio introduced the bill that will monitor noise pollution by using sound activated devices. Streets for All, a nonprofit organization, is a sponsor of this bill.

“Although there are regulations in place for vehicles that contribute to harmful noise pollution, there is no universal procedure to monitor and enforce these restrictions,” Portantino stated in a press release. “Loud modified exhaust systems harm the health and wellbeing of those around them. SB 1079 is an effective way to reduce noise and pollution and improve the quality of life in our communities.”

Noise pollution is an unwanted or disturbing sound that causes adverse reactions to humans and other living creatures. Loud noises in the street can disrupt walking or cycling and may lead to hearing loss. They also pose dangers to physical and cognitive health. Exposure to loud sounds has been shown to raise levels of stress hormones, including cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. Chronically high levels of these hormones can impact heart disease, hypertension, stroke, immune responses and cognitive functioning, according to the statement.

SB 1079 would authorize local jurisdictions to use sound activated enforcement devices to capture vehicle noise levels that exceed legal limits. Under California Vehicle Code, exhaust noise is limited to 95 decibels (dbA) for vehicles and 80 dbA for motorcycles. However, vehicle owners can install new exhaust systems or make other vehicle modifications that change the level of sound produced by their vehicle. These illegal modifications are accessible and easily installed at any in-home garage, resulting in much louder noise disruptions than would be allowed by law.

“Noise pollution is a public health hazard shown to increase risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, low birth weight and other physical, cognitive and emotional issues,” stated Michael Schneider, founder of Streets for All.  “SB 1079 would automatically enforce existing noise limits and combat the rise in noise from illegally modified mufflers while protecting vulnerable Californians. With a first violation warning, exemptions for those unable to pay the fines, buffer periods between violations, and allocating funds generated from tickets to implement traffic calming measures, this bill protects the privacy of all Californians and eliminates the risk of harm to those most vulnerable.”