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Vehicles with loud roars can get cited

Q. Who do I contact to possibly have an inspection done on a car in town? It has a very loud exhaust system. When the car starts up, it is really loud. I wonder if the car has been modified. Is this a Department of Motor Vehicles request or one for the Police Department?

– Tom Dawkins, Anaheim

A. Contact the police, Tom.

As you can imagine, few police officers are likely armed with decibel readers or can spot a faulty muffler, so nabbing these irritating violators likely isn’t commonplace. But if tipped off, an officer might be able catch an irritating violator noisily cruising along and warn or cite him or her.

“If you notice a pattern with certain locations at certain times of the day or week with loud exhaust violators, it is recommended to report it to your local law enforcement agency,” Sgt. Jon McClintock, Anaheim P.D.’s spokesman, told Honk in an email. “A description of the vehicle, a license plate, and a specific time or place will help dramatically.”

Under California law, a vehicle’s exhaust system can’t exceed particular limits.

For example, a vehicle weighing less than three tons – think light truck or van and smaller – must keep its roar below 95 dBA. That is about what a subway train sounds like from 200 feet away, according to a chart on Yale University’s website. For comparison: A jet engine is 140 from 100 feet, while nearby city traffic is 85 and a whisper is 25.

Even if a vehicle is not running, violations can be spotted sometimes – it is illegal to modify a muffler in certain ways.

If cited, the vehicle – and the owner – could end up in front of a Bureau of Automotive Repair referee who determines if a foul was committed.

In your city, Tom, one way to reach out to officers is to put the My Anaheim app on your phone and deploy it. You can report all sorts of problems via that app.

“Every (app) inquiry, including a police or traffic-related matter, is assigned and followed up on,” McClintock said.

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Q. My wife and I both have handicap placards. We have been taking classes at Cypress College for many years, and in the past, if you parked in a handicap parking place you were not required to purchase a parking pass. We started a class recently, and during orientation we were advised this is no longer the case and we would be required to purchase a parking pass, even if we were parked in a handicap stall. Has the policy changed?

– John Weiser, Anaheim

A. “We are not currently charging for parking,” said Marc Posner, a spokesman for the college. “Students do need to register their vehicles to receive a permit, but there is no associated fee.”

Because of the pandemic, the campus has not charged anyone for parking since at least summer 2020, and that continues on for now.

Before that, when students in general were getting charged, those with disabled-person license plates or placards were to pay as well, although they could park in the special stalls. An exception was for special events on campus, such as the swap meets on Saturdays and Sundays, when parking is not charged.

If you and your better half were students back then, when others were getting charged, John, the parking-enforcement crew apparently, thankfully, just chose not to slip citations under your windshield wipers.

To ask Honk questions, reach him at honk@ocregister.com. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk. Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk

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