Our civic fabric is fraying. We are losing our sense of connection to one another, not just nationally but also here in our beloved city of Santa Fe. A perfect example is people’s behavior in motor vehicles. In Santa Fe, some people drive as if traffic laws do not apply to them. Speeding, dangerously running red lights, and now operating deafening motorcycles and muscle cars are common.
Cars and motorcycles with modified mufflers are shattering our peace and quiet and menacing our neighborhoods. They operate with impunity, as if there were no repercussions because there are none. Why aren’t our police officers enforcing the city’s vehicle ordinances? The police chief is now requesting a budget increase, but for what?
Vehicle noise limits are in place at the state, county and city levels. State police, sheriff’s deputies and Santa Fe police have the authority to cite violators.
The city of Santa Fe’s vehicle noise ordinance prohibits vehicles to be operated with a sound pressure level over 90 dBA (relative loudness) up to 45 mph, or over 94 dBA over 45 mph. Vehicles are prohibited to have a muffler modified in a manner that will amplify or increase the noise emitted above the type originally installed on the vehicle. Uniformed police officers have the power to stop a motor vehicle reasonably suspected of violating this provision and issue a notice of violation or abatement order.
It’s important to be clear this is not about lowriders or cruising. Those are time-honored traditions and do not normally involve excessive noise. This is about respecting one another and our neighbors. People have a right to enjoy their property and public spaces without being assaulted by blasting mufflers.
The noise, speeding and red-light running must be brought under control. This issue needs to be placed on a City Council agenda for discussion and action taken. This is about our quality of life and our respect for one another.
Where are our mayor, city councilors and police chief on this issue? Please call or write to them and request enforcement.