By on June 27, 2009

Revving your engine will soon be a crime punishable by a fine of up to $500 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mayor Martin Chavez (D) proposed adding a blip of the throttle to the city ordinance listing “nuisances” that the city uses as a justification to seize automobiles. The city council is expected to vote on the idea next month. “It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in exhibition driving in the Downtown Quiet Zone by operating a vehicle in a manner that willfully creates excessive engine noise because of revving the engine to magnify the engine noise,” the proposed ordinance states.


The quiet zone is set up in a half-mile square encompassing the core of the downtown area, although a further amendment is expected to allow ticketing anywhere in the city. As written, the proposal allows fines of up to $500, imprisonment and car seizure as penalties. The city says it intends only to charge $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second and $500 for a third.

At first, Chavez will ask police set up traps to ticket motorcyclists before going after other motorists. In 2006, a UK court took a different route to criminalize such conduct. It jailed a man for what the judge called “revving his car in a racist manner.”

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50 Comments on “Albuquerque, NM to Make Engine Revving a Crime...”


  • avatar
    commando1

    When I was a kid, my old man used to give the gas peddle a final “blip” before turning off the engine. “Makes it easier to start next time” he said (I actually believed him, too). Little did I know that someday he would have been a criminal and a menace to society. He was an accountant by the way.

  • avatar

    I hear Mayor Chavez is also planning to make it illegal to play old beach boys and jan & dean songs on your car stereo. Or CD. Or whatever.

    Is life in Albuquerque so tame that the mayor can’t think of anything else to do???

  • avatar
    golf4me

    I wish my city would do this. Unfortunately, it really is a problem around here with all the nippon-ricer idiot gangsta wannabees and their F**CKING stupid coffee-can Civics, Sentras, etc. I would love to see every one of these a$$holes in cuffs on the side of the road. Don’t even get me started on the stereos…Damn kids these days.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    is heel-toe’ing illegal now?

  • avatar

    Some new cars (automatics, I assume) have rev limiters that already eliminate this problem: you can’t rev the motor past 3000rpm unless you get an ECU reflash.

    Gotta love big brother in all of its evil forms.

  • avatar
    Jim K

    Hey you kids…..get off my lawn!

  • avatar
    golf4me

    Seriously though, in most cities there are already ordinances that state that there should be no excessive noise eminating from a motor vehicle at a range of xxx feet. Usually, it coincides with Federal pass-by noise standards.

    What would be easiest, especially in today’s political climate (no pun intended) is to make illegal any modification which may cause the vehicle not to pass it’s original noise, emission, & safety performance requirements. Sure all the paddy-tuners (SEMA) will be up in arms, but when billions of our tax dollars are now being spent to develop vehicles to meet CAFE, EPA, FMVSS, NHTSA standards…

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Get of my lawn, you damn kids!

    In Ontario we get ticketed not only for revving but for screeching tires as well. It’s called ‘making unnecessary noise’.

    Personally I don’t have a problem with bikes and anything with a V8 making a little noise. What I don’t like is sound of ricers with fart can exhausts. We call it a ‘broken muffler’ not a performance exhaust.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Enforcement is sure to be aribitrary. They’ll try to lock up every Honda, Acura, and Nissan in town while folks in open piped Harley hawgs will rumble through town undisturbed.

    Sucks to be my friend with his eclipse. He never got around to fixing his idle controller so it’s always hunting rpms at idle. Sounds like he’s blipping the throttle. He always wonders why people want to race him at the light.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    this makes me laugh

    i always thought New Mexico was a ‘wild west’ frontier state almost on the same level as Texas

    as far removed from the communist havens of California and Illinois as possible

    where i am the rules are distinct… 95dB max at 2/3 of the rev range… they can bag you for undue acceleration, squealing tyres and excess noise

    HOWEVER motorcycles are generally exempt depending on the age… especially old motorcycles with no cats or mufflers

    besides who want to ticket Hells Angels? Easy to get soft targets like affluent baby boomers with detroit V8s

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    What would be easiest, especially in today’s political climate (no pun intended) is to make illegal any modification which may cause the vehicle not to pass it’s original noise, emission, & safety performance requirements. Sure all the paddy-tuners (SEMA) will be up in arms, but when billions of our tax dollars are now being spent to develop vehicles to meet CAFE, EPA, FMVSS, NHTSA standards…

    you mean like CARB?

  • avatar
    rijc99

    My Infiniti rev matches on downshift… does that mean I can’t downshift ever?

  • avatar
    67dodgeman

    Someone already beat me to it about the Harleys (and fake Harleys) with no mufflers – just pipes. I don’t see how those things get by with an inspection.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    I suppose packs of staight pipe Harley Davidsons will deafenignly rumble right on through unharrassed.

  • avatar
    carguy

    You see, the problem with freedom is that there is a very good chance that someone may choose to exercise it in ways you disapprove of. That is why the only real test of any freedom is when a minority exercises it in a way the majority disapproves of. If the majority then bands together to prohibit the minorities activities then it was never a freedom to begin with – all you ever had was the right to agree with the majority. Thus the price of any real freedom is not only eternal vigilance but also eternal tolerance.

  • avatar
    holydonut

    There’s an idiot with a SRT4 with a modded exhaust that revs his engine at random times (sometimes at 2am) and for extended durations.

    It’s a shame that there is no way to draft a rule that targets his moronic behavior separetely from an accountant that gives the engine a bit of a blip when he shuts off his motor.

    What’s an even bigger shame is that if someone were to attempt to make it so that punitive measures could be carried out by the executive branch against the SRT4 owner, invariability the freedom fighters would cry foul because the laws are violating his liberties. Except I doubt the freedom fighters have to put up with being awoken at random times due to the moron SRT4 owner who just bounces his motor off the rev limiter for apparently no reason other than trying to be cool.

  • avatar
    VerbalKint

    Albuquerque elected him, they deserve what they get.

  • avatar

    @rijc99
    Yup. No more downshifting for you. At least in Albuquirk.

    Seriously, though, if the problem is noise, why don’t they just make anything over a certain # of decibels illegal. That would be totally reasonable, and it would take care of golf4me’s complains. It would also take care of my complaints about the damn leaf blowers and the lawnmowers that give of 100db. But this is ridiculous.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Someone already beat me to it about the Harleys (and fake Harleys) with no mufflers – just pipes. I don’t see how those things get by with an inspection.

    And I recall reading somewhere (don’t know if it’s true) that a Harley often makes MORE power with its factory-issued, stock muffler than it does with some of the noise-makers out there.

    Then again, you may be going slower, but it doesn’t SOUND nearly as cool…I’m totally convinced the same is true of cars with “fart can” tailpipes, which seem to be waning in popularity.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Add this town to the list of places to avoid. And keep vacation tourist dollars away from. With all those fines they don’t need our money.

  • avatar
    JonnyZX

    holydonut:

    If you can sarcastically call people who oppose this liberty and money robbingbig government nonsense “freedom fighters”, is it ok if we call you nanny-statists?

    ….

  • avatar
    JonnyZX

    Does anyone else not see the idiocy of a government gone wild issuing arbitrary laws, regulations, and punitive taxation?

    When you create 10,000 laws and regulations you destroy all respect for the law – someone famous said that, can’t remember who.

    We are the Roman Empire — all over again, and we will surely fall as well.

  • avatar
    67dodgeman

    a Harley often makes MORE power with its factory-issued, stock muffler

    When most manufacturers sell based on “most horsepower in it’s class”, do you really think they’d pass up an easy 10 hp or so with a simple exhaust mod? I agree, most of the so-called modified cars and bikes make less power than stock, or less usablepower, which is even more important.

    As far as noise, I agree with a straight decibel standard, administered at the inspection station. Anything else is harassment. And I’ve been on the side of the road with Mr. Policeman firsthand, so I believe any arbitrary measure such as this will be nothing more than harassment and money collection with no benefit to society.

  • avatar
    dastanley

    Is life in Albuquerque so tame that the mayor can’t think of anything else to do???

    Albuquerque has a big gang and drug problem, proportionally large for the population of the city. There are lots of lowriders with cherry bombs and coffee can rice burners in ABQ. There are also lots of loud Harleys.

    I live in Farmington, NM, not in ABQ, but we have the same issues here. I fly to ABQ almost every day that I work and see the problems first hand (I’m an air ambulance pilot). And while the law may seem “unconstitutional” and silly, I tend to support it. Spend time in ABQ and Mayor Martin Chavez’s law will make more sense to you.

    The U-Hauls are pouring over the border right now as the productive citizens escape..

    For the last 15 years or so, AZ, UT, and CO have had a steady influx of CA refugees doing just that – relocating to a safer, more productive, less crowded environment. Kingman, AZ and Lake Havasu, AZ are just two small examples of small towns that have exploded in population with retirees that can no longer afford nor desire to live in CA. I lived in Kingman when it still had that old west truck stop feel – now it’s more of a generic yuppie-ville bedroom community, especially with I-40 going through.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    The UK story about a man revving his engine in front of muslims was funny. It’s wonderful to see how the UK bends over and touches their toes for the muslim residents. It seems to have paid off, they only got subway bombings while we had buildings knocked down.

    The Albejerky ordinance states a car radio heard 25 feet away is an offense. Keep those windows rolled up and turn down the radio when exiting the vehicle, don’t want to offend the easily offended.

    Whatever happened to “just deal with it”?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “Whatever happened to “just deal with it”?”

    Whatever happened to common courtesy and respect for your fellow human beings?

    We wouldn’t need speed bumps if everyone drove responsibly in parking lots.

    We wouldn’t need sound nuisance laws if people didn’t blast noise from their obnoxious audio systems and modified vehicles.

    But, enough people are jerks in this world that we need laws and enforcement to try and maintain something resembling a civil society. Then we get the problem of abusive cops and abusive courts sometimes going over the top. But, the problem starts with the obnoxious behavior, not with the mayor.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Common courtesy? Respect for your fellow human beings?

    I’m afraid that there are too many people who have never heard of such things, thus the rise of the “Nanny state” in which we live.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    In the context of the gang and drug problem in ABQ, this makes sense. Other cities that have odd laws like this–some cities have gangs defined as a group of two or more people, and in the case of the city where my alma mater is, a frat house can be considered a brothel.

    Not the way I’d want to fight crime, though.

  • avatar
    Gunit

    This struck me as really stupid when I first read it, then I remembered visiting Albuquerque and all the ricers that came out and crawled around downtown at night. I could see that getting annoying.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    GS650G :
    June 27th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    The UK story about a man revving his engine in front of muslims was funny. It’s wonderful to see how the UK bends over and touches their toes for the muslim residents. It seems to have paid off, they only got subway bombings while we had buildings knocked down.

    Good point! That is one weird story… “revving his Lotus Esprit in a racist manner.”

    The UK must be a hell of a place to live. But we aren’t far behind, I’m afraid.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I honestly don’t mind them passing this for the downtown’s “Quiet Zone” area.

    However, I would be heavily against making it a city-wide mandate. The worst possible consequence of that is it would become possible for people working on their cars in their own garage or driveway to get tickets when they rev the motor.

  • avatar
    FloorIt

    Um… hasn’t this cars noise been noticed by everyone since hotrods in the 1920’s, 1950’s, etc. Each generation must relearn what the previous generation already knows.

    Top Gear’ Clarkson and Hammond were in I think Reno NV. with a new Corvette and Challenger. They revved their engines, set off several car alarms and the bicycle police gave them tickets. I thought their setting off SUV alarms was funny.
    Lots of weed whacker sounding cars here in metro Chicago. Reminds me of past when Glass Paks were put on 6 cylinder Mavericks and Novas, etc. I thought and still think it’s funny/silly to spend money on the coffe can exhausts.
    My friend lives near an expressway and we can hear the crotch rockets go by at 9000+ rpms.

    @John Horner
    Totally agree, just deal with it.
    Wait until these weed whackers have kids and complain that their kids are being kept awake or scared by noisy cars.

    My final verdict: I took off the snorkel going to my air filter box so I’d get more woooom sound at part and full throttle on my Fusion. Enough said.

  • avatar
    vetes

    This proposed law is simply ridiculous and an abomination. First off, the most silly of it, is that the ordinance is completely objective. Officers will not have any device capable of confirming whether or not something qualifies as “excessive”. How can any ticket issued through this be upheld in court?

    Discussion on local talk radio is basically people who ride larger motorcycles worried about becoming a target and curmudgeons who have deep angst for motorcyclists and sports cars and want to target them. The bottom line is that there exist noise ordinances already throughout the city and if your neighbor is blasting anything at two in the morning, you can call on them. If I enter the freeway on my Triumph Daytona 675 accelerating through my gears at more than 8000 rpm, it may be loud but it is momentary.

    Additionally, the words of our friend from Farmington are simply opinion. Albuquerque is a very large metro area and does indeed have gang problems, like many large cities with a population greater than a quarter million. Based on his occupation I would wager he sees the worst of it. Regardless, it is irresponsible to make a claim that Albuquerque’s gang problem is greater than most with no references. Gang violence is a horrible thing and it has no relevance to this discussion.

    This ordinance is the result of bored city councilors and a mayor who has spent way too much and need to look like they’re still important by adopting a sophomoric statute only an old fogey could love. In conclusion, leave me alone and go guard your lawn from kids.

  • avatar
    63CorvairSpyder

    Nice pix of the early “Beach Boys” with the ‘vette. Thanks Robert.

  • avatar

    As a resident of nearby Corrales and somebody who lives right next door to people who rev their motorcycle engines and loudly play boom boxes audible from fifty feet away, I have to say I’m sort of on board with this.

    Besides that, if you’ve ever been in ABQ downtown area and have some judgment you’re not going to want to go fast or rev quick off the start there anyway. Lots of narrow one-way streets, lots of pedestrians, lots of traffic.

  • avatar
    Alcibiades

    I live in Albuquerque. I don’t go downtown at night, because (i) I’m 50 and wouldn’t want to anyway, and (ii) it’s dangerous. I’ve seeen video of the fights that erupt regularly after midnight on Friday and Saturday night. I work downtown during the week, and it is a pleasant place, but it gets crazy during the weekend. Don’t know if this is a good law, and I am no fan of Mayor Chavez, but I understand the impulse.

    BTW, I agree with the commentators about Harleys. One Harley can be heard at night around here for miles, tens of miles. So rude. I hate those @#$%.

  • avatar
    dastanley

    As a resident of nearby Corrales and somebody who lives right next door to people who rev their motorcycle engines and loudly play boom boxes audible from fifty feet away, I have to say I’m sort of on board with this.

    Besides that, if you’ve ever been in ABQ downtown area and have some judgment you’re not going to want to go fast or rev quick off the start there anyway. Lots of narrow one-way streets, lots of pedestrians, lots of traffic.

    Especially near Central and around UNM and the Frontier – lots of pedestrians.

  • avatar
    zaitcev

    This is just as dumb as anti-cruising laws. Jail gang members and install noise ordinances instead. Marty Chavez is very much poll driven though.

    As for being run by corrupt politicians, well… We’re not as bad as Illinois.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    63CorvairSpyder: “Nice pix of the early “Beach Boys” with the ‘vette. Thanks Robert.”An oblique reference to the intro of ‘409’ when Gary Usher revs his 1959 348 Impala. The story goes that it took all night until Brian Wilson got the exact sound he was looking for, and the effort shows.

    If the rice-burners or Harley morons could get their engines to sound like that old tri-power 348 at the beginning of ‘409’, maybe the geezers wouldn’t have as much of a problem with it.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Can anyone arguing against this give me a good reason for revving their engine?

    Sure, it might have been better to set a maximum decible level, but they decided not to have cops running around with decible meeters all day. ABQ decided to limit reving, and I for one think it’s reasonable. Other people have rights too.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Gang violence is a horrible thing and it has no relevance to this discussion.

    It’s absolutely relevant, as this is basically an anti-gang ordinance in disguise. The goal is obviously to have laws that the police can use to easily justify stops, fines and asset seizures, targeting groups that it doesn’t like.

    The law is most likely also intended to deter them from visiting in the first place. The local government would probably prefer to contain the gangs to their own neighborhoods when possible, in order to keep them away from the rest of society, and to limit inter-gang conflicts that occur in “normal” neighborhoods. This goes well beyond cars.

  • avatar
    mitchim

    You don’t have to be living in a populated area to be a target for this stuff. I live in alberta and drive a 2006 Sti. I was pulled over because the officer thought I was not wearing my seatbelt. No big deal I WAS. Its a fast car. Was not speeding either!

    Before this officer was done chewing me out he made an odd request. REV THE ENGINE? I said the car was new! I just bought it and was on my way home. I said its stock if you look on the muffler you will see the stamp (Sti). Grrrrr.

    I have no Idea what the laws are regarding this noise thing here in Alberta but this guy PAID to serve and protect the people apparently thought he could give me some sort of ticket for a loud car. We would not want that might scare the moose and deer on a highway in the middle of nowhere. Highway 63 is the road to nowhere. Fort McMurray Alberta, Canada.

    By the way I drove away with nothing slightly bothered. The Cop drove away with out issuing a ticket.

    Mitch

  • avatar
    vetes

    RE: Can anyone arguing against this give me a good reason for revving their engine?

    Well, not everyone drives an automatic, “revving” is just accelerating your engine. Today, car engines spin faster, that’s where they make horsepower. Accelerating causes engine “revving”. When your muffler dies and you’re running on a straight pipe where anything over 1000 rpm sounds like a jet taking off and then you get a ticket driving to Mineke, you’ll understand. Besides, that isn’t the point. There are already plenty of noise ordinances in the city. What’s the point to yet another except to make officers (who are busy enough and remember, they have no valid way to determine what counts as an offense) and certain citizens miserable. Can you provide a good reason for this sillyness with justification beyond existing statutes?

    RE: It’s absolutely relevant, as this is basically an anti-gang ordinance in disguise. The goal is obviously to have laws that the police can use to easily justify stops, fines and asset seizures, targeting groups that it doesn’t like.

    Que? There is absolutely no relevance here, pretext stops, for which you seem to advocate are illegal in New Mexico.

    The city council and mayor for life Chavez are simply politicians and crave attention and therefore would rather portray the illusion of “doing something”. Enough people get an idea moving in this city and it catches fire, and then a cold. If it is used for pretext stops and the officers cannot offer concrete proof of breach, it will become a headache for all involved. Better not stay at your keyboard too long, kids might be looking in the general direction of your lawn.

  • avatar

    I hear that this is one reason why Toyota is phasing out manual transmissions in their cars–it’s not as easy to rev the engine excessively with an automatic.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Well, not everyone drives an automatic, “revving” is just accelerating your engine. Today, car engines spin faster, that’s where they make horsepower. Accelerating causes engine “revving”. When your muffler dies and you’re running on a straight pipe where anything over 1000 rpm sounds like a jet taking off and then you get a ticket driving to Mineke, you’ll understand. Besides, that isn’t the point. There are already plenty of noise ordinances in the city. What’s the point to yet another except to make officers (who are busy enough and remember, they have no valid way to determine what counts as an offense) and certain citizens miserable. Can you provide a good reason for this sillyness with justification beyond existing statutes?

    I drive a stick every day, and I never have reason to rev my engine in a way that makes excessive noise. If you are simply accelerating, in gear, it won’t make a lot of extra noise. It’s slipping it into neutral and flooring the accelerator that is at issue, not normal acceleration. In other words, this is about “gunning” the engine.

    I don’t know what ordinances are on the books in ABQ. This seems reasonable to me, unless there are already noise ordinances that apply.

    I used to have an engine noise related problem in Honolulu. Tour buses would park in front of the hotel next door to my building and leave the engine running. The driver would usually go inside the hotel. Not only was it noisy, the diesel fumes came in the living room windows. The City was no help at all. One day I entered the bus, shut off the engine and took the keys.
    I don’t think a no idling ordinance would have been unreasonable.

  • avatar
    dastanley

    Pch101 :
    June 28th, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Gang violence is a horrible thing and it has no relevance to this discussion.

    It’s absolutely relevant, as this is basically an anti-gang ordinance in disguise. The goal is obviously to have laws that the police can use to easily justify stops, fines and asset seizures, targeting groups that it doesn’t like.

    The law is most likely also intended to deter them from visiting in the first place. The local government would probably prefer to contain the gangs to their own neighborhoods when possible, in order to keep them away from the rest of society, and to limit inter-gang conflicts that occur in “normal” neighborhoods. This goes well beyond cars.

    Thank you Pch101. You made my point perfectly.

  • avatar
    holydonut

    Re: JonnyZX

    Considering the ACLU often refers to itself as a coalition of freedom fighters; I fail to see why I cannot refer to them (or people who share similar views on liberties) as freedom fighters.

    http://www.aclu.org/reproductiverights/gen/38478res20090126.html

    Click on the link located in the inset bar to see how you can “Become a Reproductive Freedom Fighter!”

    So far I haven’t found an example of someone trying to get some shut-eye referencing themself as a nanny-statist.

  • avatar

    I used to have an engine noise related problem in Honolulu. Tour buses would park in front of the hotel next door to my building and leave the engine running. The driver would usually go inside the hotel. Not only was it noisy, the diesel fumes came in the living room windows. The City was no help at all. One day I entered the bus, shut off the engine and took the keys.

    That took stones. I’m surprised you didn’t get arrested.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    That took stones. I’m surprised you didn’t get arrested.

    I gave the keys back to the driver when he asked for them – otherwise I probably would have been arrested. We had a little “discussion” the upshot of it was that drivers for that tour company never left their buses unattended again – but they continued to idle their engines for a half an hour or so. The city of Honolulu didn’t give a damn about it.

  • avatar
    AG

    The point is, even revving your engine in a car with stock exhaust isn’t going to make the obscenely loud noises of some aftermarket cherry bomb or straight pipe douchebag who is intentionally trying to be loud. Besides, where there’s loud revving engines, there’s usually street racing. That alone would be enough to justify this ordinance.

    That being said, I will now listen to E-40’s song “Muscle Cars”

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