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Dear Mahatma: As I was passing an 18-wheeler on the interstate, its exhaust note rattled my windows. Its exhaust pipes were huge. I noted no mufflers. Having spent 40-plus years in trucking I feel qualified to say this truck did not meet A.C.A. 27-37-601. Add an engine exhaust brake, and some trucks can be heard for upwards of one mile. Why has law enforcement stopped enforcing this law? Perhaps you might provide insight? -- Noised Out

Dear Noised: Insight? Ha!

Let's review Arkansas Code Annotated 27-37-601, which says, "Noise or smoke producing devices prohibited." It says every motor vehicle shall have a muffler in good working order and constant operation, to prevent excessive or unusual noise and annoying smoke.

Your question introduces a new voice, that of Jay Thompson, recently appointed chief of the Highway Police, an agency of the Arkansas Department of Transportation. Thompson's predecessor, Ron Burks, graciously answered many questions.

We asked if the Highway Police had stopped enforcing this muffler law.

Thompson said that in 2017 the agency issued 28 violations. Three were for improper exhaust system location, two for the exhaust system not securely fastened, four for improper exhaust discharge, and 19 for improper muffler or exhaust.

He added that in 2017 the Highway Police conducted 37,000 roadside inspections of commercial motor vehicles.

Dear Mahatma: It's curious that the sign for the Interstate 430 South exit off Interstate 40 near Morgan indicates Texarkana as a destination point. As we all know, for folks headed into town from the west, I-430 serves as the main entry point to essentially the entire city. But the signage tells drivers they must continue on I-40 to reach Little Rock. That's fine if your destination is downtown. Shouldn't the signage be changed to indicate I-40 will take you downtown and I-430 is another significant entry point to Little Rock? Is this something that falls within your Mahatma realm of influence? -- Mark

Dear Mark: Influence? As if.

David Nilles of the Arkansas Transportation Department explained.

ArDot uses gateway cities such as Texarkana, Memphis, and Fort Smith as destinations because they are where other interstates connect. Texarkana is listed on the I-430 south sign to prevent drivers from going all the way to the I-40/I-30 interchange downtown to make their way to Texarkana, Nilles said.

He added that as motorists drive on around that curve onto I-430, they will see exit signs for North Little Rock, Crystal Hill and Maumelle. There is also one that says "Little Rock Next 8 Exits." (This latter sign was indeed in our realm of influence. Or that of a reader, who noted a few years ago the sign was missing two newer exits.)

Nilles said this question has provided inspiration for the agency to think about some signs, and approaches into Little Rock will be reconsidered.

Vanity plate on a Camaro: PEEL EM.

Metro on 05/26/2018

Print Headline: Exhaust on big rig annoyed

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