2011 Connecticut Code
Title 14 Motor Vehicles. Use of the Highway By Vehicles. Gasoline
Chapter 246 Motor Vehicles
Sec. 14-80. Mechanical equipment.

      Sec. 14-80. Mechanical equipment. (a) Each motor vehicle and the devices on such vehicle shall be operated, equipped, constructed and adjusted to prevent unnecessary or unusual noise.

      (b) Each motor vehicle operated by an internal combustion engine shall be equipped, except as hereinafter provided, with a muffler or mufflers designed to prevent excessive, unusual or unnecessary exhaust noise. The muffler or mufflers shall be maintained by the owner in good working order and shall be in use whenever the motor vehicle is operated. No person, including a motor vehicle dealer or repairer or a motorcycle dealer, shall install, and no person shall use, on a motor vehicle, a muffler or mufflers lacking interior baffle plates or other effective muffling devices, a gutted muffler, a muffler cutout or a straight exhaust except when the motor vehicle is operated in a race, contest or demonstration of speed or skill as a public exhibition pursuant to subsection (a) of section 14-164a, or any mechanical device which will amplify the noise emitted by the vehicle. No person, including a motor vehicle dealer or repairer or a motorcycle dealer, shall remove all or part of any muffler on a motor vehicle except to repair or replace the muffler or part for the more effective prevention of noise. No person shall use on the exhaust system or tail pipe of a motor vehicle any extension or device which will cause excessive or unusual noise.

      (c) The engine of every motor vehicle shall be equipped and adjusted to prevent excessive fumes or exhaust smoke.

      (d) All pipes carrying exhaust gases from the motor shall be constructed of, and maintained with, leak-proof metal. Exhaust pipes shall be directed from the muffler or mufflers toward the rear of the vehicle and shall be approximately parallel with the longitudinal axis of the vehicle and approximately parallel to the surface of the roadway, or shall be directed from the muffler upward to a location above the cab or body of the vehicle so that fumes, gases and smoke are directed away from the occupants of the vehicle. Exhaust pipes on a passenger vehicle shall extend to the extreme rear end of the vehicle's body, not including the bumper and its attachments to the body, or shall be attached to the vehicle in such a way that the exhaust pipes direct the exhaust gases to either side of the vehicle ensuring that fresh ambient air is located under the vehicle at all times. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 to establish safety standards for passenger vehicles equipped with exhaust pipes located in front of the rear axle.

      (e) Every motor vehicle shall, when operated on a highway, be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than two hundred feet, but no horn or other warning device shall emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle.

      (f) No vehicle shall be equipped with, nor shall any person use on a vehicle, any siren, whistle or bell as a warning signal device, except as otherwise permitted by this section. Any motor vehicle may be equipped with a theft alarm signal device which is so arranged that it cannot be used by the driver as an ordinary warning signal. Any authorized emergency vehicle may be equipped with a siren, whistle or bell, capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than five hundred feet and of a type approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Such signal shall not be used unless the vehicle is operated in response to an emergency call or in the immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law, in which event the driver of the vehicle shall sound the signal when reasonably necessary to warn pedestrians and other drivers of the approach of the vehicle.

      (g) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined one hundred fifty dollars for each offense.

      (1949 Rev., S. 2428; 1949, S. 1327d; 1953, S. 1329d; 1953, 1955, S. 1328d; March, 1958, P.A. 27, S. 8; 1959, P.A. 108; 129; February, 1965, P.A. 448, S. 6; 1967, P.A. 832, S. 5; 846; 1969, P.A. 17, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 463; P.A. 73-161, S. 1, 2; 73-193; P.A. 75-577, S. 26, 126; P.A. 84-429, S. 28; P.A. 92-102, S. 1, 2; P.A. 03-180, S. 1.)

      History: 1959 acts amended Subsec. (a) by requiring maintenance of brakes in working order, amplifying the holding requirement for a stationary vehicle and adding requirements re service brakes on motor vehicles, trailers and semitrailers and re maintenance and adjustment of brakes and amended Subsec. (c) to delete provision exhaust pipes of passenger vehicles extend to rear end of vehicle unless equipped with diffusing device; 1965 act amended Subsec. (c) by deleting provision for suitable exhaust systems other than mufflers, by requiring equipment to prevent excessive fumes or exhaust smoke and adding language re direction of fumes, gases and smoke and by requiring exhaust pipes to extend to extreme rear of vehicle unless equipped with diffuser as specified, deleted former Subsec. (d) and added new Subsec. (d); amended Subsec. (e) by adding references to the affixing or hanging of devices, stickers and ornaments distracting operator's attention, and amended Subsec. (f) by deleting reference to sidecar and adding requirement that windshield be free from snow, ice, condensation and dirt and that wiper be directly in front of operator; 1967 acts amended Subsec. (b) to add provision re height of handlebars and amended Subsec. (c) to clarify and strengthen provision re mufflers altered or designed to increase noise; 1969 act modified prohibition against noise-producing mufflers to allow their use on vehicles in races, contests, exhibitions etc.; 1971 act added Subsec. (h) re modifications to ball joint; P.A. 73-161 revised braking requirements in Subsec. (a) and required brake on front and rear wheels of motorcycle designated as 1974 or later model under Subsec. (b); P.A. 73-193 clarified provision re positioning of exhaust pipes in Subsec. (c) by deleting reference to diffusers and allowing pipes to direct fumes to side of car; P.A. 75-577 replaced provision for $50 maximum fine in Subsec. (g) with statement that violation is an infraction; P.A. 84-429 transferred provisions re brake systems to Sec. 14-80h, motorcycle braking to Sec. 14-80i, obstruction of view to Sec. 14-99f(c), windshields to Sec. 14-99f(a) and ball joints and tie rods to Sec. 14-80b, rephrased remaining provisions, relettered remaining Subsecs. and made other technical changes; P.A. 92-102 amended Subsec. (d) to eliminate requirement that exhaust pipes be located behind the rear axle and to authorize adoption of regulations to establish safety standards for vehicles having exhaust pipes located in front of the rear axle; (Revisor's note: In 1997 references throughout the general statutes to "Motor Vehicle(s) Commissioner" and "Motor Vehicle(s) Department" were replaced editorially by the Revisors with "Commissioner of Motor Vehicles" or "Department of Motor Vehicles", as the case may be, for consistency with customary statutory usage); P.A. 03-180 amended Subsec. (g) to change penalty for violation of section from an infraction to a fine of $150.

      See Sec. 14-107 re liability of owner, operator or lessee of vehicle in prosecutions for violation of this section.

      See Sec. 14-283(d) re duty of emergency vehicle drivers to drive with due regard to safety of persons and property.

      The lack of proper brakes is admissible to prove reckless driving. 106 C. 385. Violation of former statute as to brakes was not negligence per se. 109 C. 654; see 122 C. 212-214. Cited. 117 C. 174. Allegation that defendant "was operating his truck with improper brakes" is sufficient to invoke statute. 130 C. 358. Failure to have brakes in condition required by statute is negligence per se, whether or not defect is due to any negligence by owner or operator. Id., 359. Where rear axle broke but it was not found that axle was part of brakes, no violation of statute. Id., 359, 360. Jury could not reasonably conclude that operation of bus was not a violation of statute and did not constitute negligence. 135 C. 660. History and purpose of statute. Violation constitutes negligence. 146 C. 149. Where plaintiff desires particular reference be made to statute, he must request specific charge. 148 C. 595. In absence of evidence that braking systems of any of vehicles involved failed to comply with relevant provisions of this section, issue of inadequate or defective brakes should not have been committed to jury. 150 C. 158. Where no evidence of defective brakes, judge properly charged jury to disregard allegations of complaint re defective brakes. 154 C. 212. Having found unrestricted racing events on the defendant's track constituted a nuisance, the court which prescribed limitations thereto properly modified its injunction to comply with amendments to the statute. 158 C. 478. Cited. 162 C. 125.

      Cited. 24 CS 101. Summary judgment on issue of liability rendered for plaintiff on defendant's violation of statute. 25 CS 183. Cited. Id., 216.

      This section is not so unconstitutionally vague that the circuit court will strike it down. 5 Conn. Cir. Ct. 472. The phrase "excessive fumes or exhaust smoke" is not unconstitutionally vague but of reasonable certainty and understandability. 6 Conn. Cir. Ct. 108, 110, 111.

      Subsec. (a):

      Cited. 35 CA 126; judgment reversed, see 235 C. 360.

      A violation of this statute is negligence per se whether or not the defect in the braking system was due to the negligence of the operator. 31 CS 325.

      Subsec. (d):

      Cited. 30 CA 263.

      Illegal use of siren. 34 CS 551. Cited. Id.

      Subsec. (e):

      Cited. 30 CA 263.

      Subsec. (h):

      Cited. 35 CS 659.

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