Loud mufflers are a constant nuisance, but more fines could be on the way

State lawmakers approved two point five million dollars for the program that will be rolled out by the Department of Transportation.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 7:17 PM HST|Updated: May. 11, 2023 at 12:07 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sound-detecting microphones meant to crack down on illegal noise on the roads are coming to Oahu.

State lawmakers approved $2.5 million for the program, which the Department of Transportation will roll out.

The DOT says the devices will go on existing infrastructure. They will have microphones that can detect illegal loud noise and cameras to take license plate pictures.

Under Honolulu County’s noise ordinance, any sound coming from a car loud enough to reach a distance of 30 feet on the road is probated with a fine of $100 for a first offense.

State Rep. Adrian Tam, who represents Waikiki and spearheaded the new law, says the devices are meant to crack down on illegal mufflers he’s heard complaints about.

The DOT says the program will operate like the red light cameras, where fines are sent to the car’s registered owner.

The first microphones could be installed in Manoa or Kakaako-Waikiki, areas with high levels of noise complaints.

While the program’s directive is modified mufflers, it’s unclear if the devices will also pick up other loud noises, like loudspeakers.

Some legal experts also have concerns.

“What if there are two cars side by side, and the car closet to the camera gets a ticket, and the car is perfectly legal, and the car next to it has a loud muffler and but they get the wrong person,” said Patrick McPherson, a criminal defense lawyer.

The DOT says it will only put the devices in communities that request them.

As for when the program will roll out, the DOT says it could be at least two years.