Since Virginia has been mentioned a couple of times, let me point out two Virginia code sections that pertain to this. The first concerns straight pipes, or the total lack of any mufflers or straight thru glass packs, etc.
Muffler cutout, etc., illegal.
It shall be unlawful to sell or offer for sale any (i) muffler without interior baffle plates or other effective muffling device or (ii) gutted muffler, muffler cutout, or straight exhaust. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate on the highways in the Commonwealth a motor vehicle, moped, or motorized skateboard or scooter equipped with a gutted muffler, muffler cutout, or straight exhaust
And then there is this one concerning how loud. Many of your louder series of Flowmasters, etc. fall in this section. Also, note that chambered pipes are illegal "period" (and have been since GM offered same as optional on select 1967 vehicles
Exhaust system in good working order.
No person shall drive and no owner of a vehicle shall permit or allow the operation of any such vehicle on a highway unless it is equipped with an exhaust system in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual levels of noise; provided however, that for motor vehicles, such exhaust system shall be of a type
installed as standard factory equipment, or comparable
to that designed for use on the particular vehicle as standard factory equipment. An exhaust system shall not be deemed to prevent excessive or unusual noise if it permits the escape of noise in excess of that permitted by the standard factory equipment exhaust system of private passenger motor vehicles or trucks of standard
The term "exhaust system," as used in this section, means all the parts of a vehicle through which the exhaust passes after leaving the engine block, including mufflers and other sound dissipative devices.
are not an effective muffling device to prevent excessive or unusual noise, and any vehicle equipped with chambered pipes shall be deemed in violation of this section.
My personal habits are that if loud enough to stop to look, if it has mufflers and the driver drives it correctly, they usually get a simple warning or explaination of the code section. My personal understanding of 1049 is pretty much along the lines of "if it has mufflers and doesn't make more noise than a factory car equipped with louder pipes like a Mustang GT, then I look at it as "OK".
If no mufflers are present, or if it's a vehicle often seen "being horsed around" and it has a louder muffler like a series 40 Flowmaster, or a glass pack, or a chambered pipe ... a ticket is most often the result.
As to the subject of motorcycles, there is this code section:
Mufflers on motorcycles.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or cause to be operated any motorcycle not equipped with a muffler or other sound dissipative device
in good working order and in constant operation.
No person shall remove or render inoperative, or cause to be removed or rendered inoperative, other than for purposes of maintenance, repair or replacement, any muffler or sound dissipative device on a motorcycle.
Technically, baffles are enough on a motorcycle. I do write straight pipes on occasion where I stop a really loud one and my special wooden stick doesn't find baffles.
I like cars
, I understand the desire to have a nice purr to it, and I also understand the desire of people to not have the windows shake when that vehicle is driven through town. I am considering an aftermarket exhaust for my '92 Bird for example. The code section does NOT say it has to "be factory", only of "a type installed as standard factory equipment, or comparable
, we do write a lot of large tractor trailers and diesel pickups as well. A "turbo" is not a muffler. And I know many officers who just love the sound of a "straight through big mouthed fart can muffler" on a ricer, they love it so well that they most usually stop the driver for an autograph session.
Hope that helps to 'splain it.