NAPLES, Fla. — If you’ve heard a car with a modified muffler roar by, you know how loud — and disturbing — the sound can be. Those mufflers are illegal in Florida, and one group is working with local law enforcement to protect the peace and quiet.
On Thursday, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office was on the street cracking down on cars that are too loud. The enforcement operation came after lobbying from Quiet Collier, which has now joined forces with a national organization and changed its name to Quiet Florida.
The Sheriff’s Office was targeting cars with modified mufflers or exhaust systems. Florida state law says its illegal to do any modifications that make a vehicle louder.
“State statute prohibits any modification of a vehicle’s exhaust system,” said Lieutenant Dave Bruening of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. “We’ve seen an increase over the last couple years, so we’re out here targeting that to let any motorists know that it is illegal.”
Anyone can buy a performance muffler. You can find plenty of them with a quick online search.
However, the sheriff’s office wants everyone to know, they’re illegal to use.
“This is very important to us from the sheriff’s office,” Bruening said, “and it’s part of our daily routine to watch for modified exhaust.”
The sheriff’s office has stepped up enforcement of this issue. Last year deputies issued 192 citations for illegal modifications, a $113 fine. That’s compared to 22 citations total in the previous three years combined.
On Thursday, sheriff’s deputies issues five tickets for modified exhaust systems in less than two hours.
The sheriff’s office has been working with a group FOX4 profiled a few weeks ago called Quiet Collier. The group was formed in March to fight noise pollution from airplanes and cars.
Since we talked to founder Mary Tatigian in December, the group has joined a national organization and changed its name to Quiet Florida.
“We are working now with two noise agencies within the United States,” Tatigian said. “We are growing so they suggested maybe we take on Quiet Florida because the whole state subjected to this.”
Members of Quiet Florida were thrilled to see the sheriff’s office supporting their mission.
“We love the police, we back them 150 percent,” Tatigian said. “We love this. It’s just bringing awareness to the issue, W’ere just so pleased and so happy they agreed to do this.”