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Police address issue of loud trucks

Farmville police are cracking down on loud vehicles roaring through town, though recently passed state legislation will make this more difficult in the future.

A.Q. “Andy” Ellington

Andy Ellington, chief of the Farmville Police Department (FPD), explained what those with particularly loud trucks are doing to create the noise.

“They’re putting loud exhaust on their truck,” he said. “They’re modifying the factory exhaust system.”

He said they can be heard driving up and down South Main Street, the primary corridor through the Town of Farmville.

“But I’m getting complaints from all over town — residents on Germantown Road, High Street, the Avenues,” he said.

The charge that can be brought against these loud motorists is having improper equipment.

Ellington said the issue of these loud trucks was something his department first began encountering almost a year ago.

“Several months ago, I talked to the officers and asked them to step up enforcement on this issue, and we have written multiple summonses for this,” he said, later noting the issue has progressively gotten worse.

However, the chief said he is very concerned the FPD will not be able to enforce the law against these loud trucks soon given a bill that Gov. Ralph Northam has signed — SB 5029, also known as HB 5058.

On Virginia’s Legislative Information System website, the summary of the bill as passed states that it provides that no law enforcement officer may lawfully stop a motor vehicle for operating with defective and unsafe equipment or for operating without an exhaust system that prevents excessive or unusual levels of noise.

“So, in order for us to stop (loud motorists), once this law goes into effect, we’re going to have to stop them for a primary offense, like speeding, to be able to even write them for the loud noise,” Ellington said. “And it also includes local town ordinances, like we’ve adopted it under our loud noise complaint. We can’t even enforce it under our own local town ordinance.”

He said this new bill could take effect during the first quarter of 2021.

“It looks like, to me, the way it reads, it’s going to be sometime (in) March or April of next year,” he said.