AutosGerman police crackdown on noisy 'car posers' in quest for city tranquility

German police crackdown on noisy 'car posers' in quest for city tranquility

COLOGNE, GERMANY - JAN 08: Police take measures as German farmers protest subsidy cuts in Cologne, Germany on January 08, 2024. Thousands of farmers in Germany began nationwide protests on Monday against the government's plans to cut agricultural subsidies. Last week, the government revised its planned spending cuts, but the farmers' association said these changes were far from sufficient to address their problems. (Photo by Kadir Ilboga/Anadolu via Getty Images)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - JAN 08: Police take measures as German farmers protest subsidy cuts in Cologne, Germany on January 08, 2024. Thousands of farmers in Germany began nationwide protests on Monday against the government's plans to cut agricultural subsidies. Last week, the government revised its planned spending cuts, but the farmers' association said these changes were far from sufficient to address their problems. (Photo by Kadir Ilboga/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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8:13 AM EST, January 27, 2024

Regrettably, by "show off," it means aimless driving around city centers, frequently accompanied by a loud exhaust sound. These drivers aim to enjoy their vehicles and draw attention, but they do so at the expense of tranquility for residents, pedestrians, or restaurant patio guests who don't share their passion for loud, popping exhausts.

German law classifies this type of car use as an offense. "Aimless driving back and forth in a developed area is prohibited if it proves bothersome to others" (30th clause of the Road Traffic Regulations – StVO). Still, it's not explicitly outlined how frequently one must cover the same road section to merit a fine — this falls under the policeman's discretion. If they stop the driver for a check-up, and the driver fails to justify why they've traveled the same route repeatedly within a short timeframe, they'll be fined 100 euros.

In addition, in such a situation, there's a risk of an 80-euro fine if, in a built-up area, the driver generates more noise with his driving than necessary for movement—for instance, if he drives at a low gear, causing the engine to roar, shifts gears abruptly causing a high engine RPM, or revs while halted at lights. In this case, the purpose of the drive is irrelevant.

Special police units in large German cities take engine noise very seriously. They patrol the streets in unmarked cars, stop sports or modified cars for routine checks, and measure exhaust loudness with a sound level meter. Use of exhaust systems that exceed noise standards can even lead to revocation of vehicle registration — even if the modification is recorded in the vehicle's documents.

This is an essential consideration when visiting our western neighbors. While Germans are car enthusiasts, have excellent roads, and permit unrestricted speed on many highways, they also highly value and strive to preserve a culture of silence.

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