Are there any provisions in the road traffic act that limit the noise level emanating from a vehicle. And do any such provisions relate only to engine/exhaust noise?

My question relates to people who fit powerful subwoofer systems to the vehicles and drive around with music at top volume so that the sound of the thumping bass can be heard from sometimes hundreds of metres away?

I have been plagued by a youngster who visits one of my neighbours and who sometimes drives past my house 3 or 4 times on a Saturday afternoon?  Is he only in contravention of local by-laws or national road laws too?

Additionally and separately on Saturday afternoon when I accosted him, he was drinking beer whilst driving on a public road. I pointed out that this is illegal and it only heightened his aggression (as one would expect).


I can help with the legislation. It is copied for you. Testing stations also have to have a noise meter and vehicles must be tested for it when they are tested for roadworthiness.

Exhaust silencers and exhaust pipes

Reg 209. No person shall operate on a public road a motor vehicle—
(a) unless an efficient exhaust silencer or muffling device is affixed thereto in such a manner that the exhaust gas from the engine is projected through such silencer or muffling device, which shall be so constructed as to reduce and muffle in an effective manner the sound produced by such exhaust;
(b) if any mechanism or device is attached thereto enabling the exhaust gas from the engine of such motor vehicle to be projected otherwise than through the silencer or muffling device referred to in paragraph (a);
(c) if the exhaust gas or smoke from the engine is so dense as to cause a nuisance to, or obstruct the vision of other road users;
(d) if the exhaust pipe or silencer thereof is in such a position that oil or other flammable liquid or material can drip or fall onto it, or is not in efficient working order, or is so placed and maintained that exhaust gas or smoke leaks into the driving cab or passenger compartment of the vehicle; and
(e) which, when tested, exceeds the limits prescribed in code of practice SABS 0181 “The Measurement of Noise Emitted by Road Vehicles when Stationary”.

Vehicle causing excessive noise
Reg 310. No person shall operate or permit to be operated on a public road a vehicle in such a manner as to cause any excessive noise which can be avoided by the exercise of reasonable care on his or her part.



Alta Swanepoel and Associates

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