If you have a diesel turbine engine, can you leave off the muffler and run about without fear of tickets for excessive noise?
The Palo Pinto County Attorney has requested the Texas Attorney General’s office to issue an opinion whether or not vehicles with diesel turbine engines have to have a muffler.
There’s between 27,000 to 28,000 people in Palo Pinto County, or about 28 people per square mile (as opposed to more than 2,500 people per square mile in Dallas County about 90 miles away). But evidently, there’s a problem in Palo Pinto County created by diesel turbine technology.
Palo Pinto county attorney Phil Garrett wants to know if diesel turbine engine vehicles can drive as loud as they want.
He requests the state’s lead attorney to investigate this on the county letterhead, which also includes Reedell Light, Chief Investigator, and Ida Morren, Special Crime Investigator. This doesn't imply Morren and Light are investigating the noise and fury of vehicles in Palo Pinto County, merely that Garrett sent a query with their names attached.
“The State of Texas requires motor vehicles to have a muffler,” Garrett wrote. “Recently, traffic offenders (those without mufflers on their vehicles) have appeared at trials for the offense of having no mufflers and presented to the various Courts a section of the Texas Traffic Code that they purport creates a diesel turbine engine exception to the requirement that all motor vehicles have a muffler.”
Now there are running discussions among diesel turbine engine owners throughout the great state of Texas whether or not they have to have mufflers. A diesel turbine engine can sound mighty impressive without a muffler.
Owners of this type of vehicle feel so strongly they are fighting for what they consider to be a legal exception to having a muffler. Restrictions on exhaust gases increase exhaust temperatures. Increased exhaust temperatures decrease engine life. And it’s quieter.
Garrett suggests that his own opinion is the law. He cites Texas Traffic Code Section 547.604: “A motor vehicle shall be equipped with a muffler in good working condition that continually operates to prevent excessive or unusual noise”
Then Garrett cites Texas Traffic Code Section 541.203 (3): “Muffler means a device that reduces noise using a mechanical design, including a series of chambers or baffle plates, to receive exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine; or turbine wheels to receive exhaust gas from a diesel engine.”
Because the diesel turbine engine has turbine wheels that receive exhaust, many have proffered this as a defense.
Garrett notes the definition of muffler is included in a subchapter or subtitle that addresses vehicles, rail transportation, and equipment. Section 541.203 includes a recitation at the beginning of the section that limits the above mentioned definition to the subtitle (which does not include the offense of requiring a muffler on a motor vehicle).
Garrett asserts that when “the entire subchapter or subtitle is read altogether it is apparent that the above definition of muffler applies to equipment and does not create a diesel turbine engine exception to the requirement that motor vehicles have a muffler.
Then he offers a summary: There is no diesel turbine engine exception to the requirement that motor vehicles have a muffler for noise reduction.
Diesel turbine engine owners say they can run as loud as they want. The Palo Pinto Attorney says no.
Now the Texas attorney general’s office, with its offices of attorneys and clerks, will see how this law resonates about this issue.