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Aftermarket companies unite against in-vehicle sound system bill in California

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 09:00
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In response to the heavy-handed changes to California Assembly Bill 1824, and in defense of their loyal enthusiast consumer-base, several top brands in the performance automotive aftermarket have banded together.
An amendment to California Assembly Bill 1824 was proposed in June of 2018 by then-Governor, Jerry Brown, as part of the state’s budget process. The original purpose of the bill was to allow law officers to enforce a 95 dB stationary sound volume limit for passenger cars and light trucks. Prior to Jan. 1, 2019, motorists deemed to be in violation received what is known as a “fix-it” ticket, which allowed for 30 days to correct the issue. However, starting Jan. 1, a motorist cited for violating the California exhaust noise law can receive an immediate fine of up to $1,000.
An industry group of companies consisting of aFe, AWE, Borla, Corsa, Invidia, Kooks, Magnaflow, MBRP, Tanabe, TurboXS, Turn5, Turn14 Distribution and Vibrant Performance, was formed to direct attention to the recent changes of AB 1824.
Specifically called upon by the group to challenge this bill, with all of their legal and legislative resources, was SEMA. The SEMA board of directors was delivered the group’s Letter of Concern on Feb. 8th, containing signatures of all the leaders of the aforementioned companies. The new penalty method has great potential to negatively affect law-abiding drivers in the state of California, and, by extension, to potentially harm the SEMA membership base, according to the companies.
“The recent changes to the bill have produced a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ situation, scaring drivers from making legal modifications to their vehicles,"stated Todd Sager, organizer of the group, and President of AWE. "Our goal as a group, at the very least, is to make standardization mandatory when it comes to testing suspected violations. Standardization will require California law officers to conduct a roadside SAE J1492 test, the procedure referred to in the bill, rather than permitting error-prone discretion to be the method by which to determine violation.”
On Feb. 7, SEMA eNews reported that California Assembly members Jim Frazier and Tim Grayson introduced SEMA-supported legislation (AB 390) to repeal changes to California AB 1824. Should it pass, AB 390 would re-institute law enforcement’s only option as to issue “fix-it” tickets.
More information about the coalition can be directed to Sager at or 215.658.1875.
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