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East Lansing residents ask officials to crack down on loud vehicle noises

A photo of Downtown East Lansing along Grand River Avenue.
Arjun Thakkar

Community members in East Lansing are asking officials to reduce loud noise from vehicles in the city.
State law prohibits motorists from modifying the muffler or exhaust part of their vehicles to produce excessive noise. Extreme noise is also illegal under city ordinance.

Daphne O’Regan, a law professor at Michigan State University, told the council being exposed to too much noise is harmful, recounting an incident when she was startled by a driver revving their engine at a drugstore's parking lot.

“There's tons and tons of studies showing that interrupted sleep and that excessive noise is bad for a person's health,” O’Regan said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has linked noise pollution to stress-related illnesses like high blood pressure and hearing loss.

Members of the East Lansing City Council say they’ve often heard from residents who want to see increased enforcement against excessive noise from cars and motorcycles.

“Loud cars are a quality-of-life issue," said Councilmember Erik Altmann. "But they're more than that. They are a public health issue. They wake people up, they rattle people, they amplify anxiety disorders, they are bad for your hearing if you're right beside them, which happens in the downtown.”

City officials said they want to see increased police enforcement of motorists violating vehicle noise laws.

Deputy Police Chief Chad Pride did not return a request for comment on the department's current enforcement practices in time for publication.

East Lansing City Attorney Anthony Chubb said he'll look into whether the city can modify its noise ordinance on loud cars and motorcycles.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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