Vol. 26 Iss. 12 - February 15, 2010



Agency Decision

Title of Regulation: 19VAC30-70. Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Rules and Regulations.

Statutory Authority: §§ 46.2-1059 and 46.2-1165 of the Code of Virginia.

Name of Petitioner: J. Tyler Ballance.

Nature of Petitioner's Request: Restoring the proper use of automobile horns solely as a warning device.

Horns are defined as warning devices and are intended to be used solely for that purpose. In recent years, manufacturers have coupled their electronic keyless entry systems to the auto horn or auto alarm, so that operators may select an entry option that sounds the horn or auto alarm, or both, upon entry and exit from the vehicle. The resulting cacophony of spurious horn or alarm blasts adds to ambient noise pollution and diminishes the effectiveness of horns as warning devices.

An amendment to 19VAC30-70-240 or a new section that specifically requires verification during annual inspections that electronic entry systems are set to silent entry and exit is recommended.

Agency Decision: Take no action.

Statement of Reasons for Decision: The department, after consideration of the petition, four public comments, existing regulations, possible economic impact, and the Code of Virginia has determined that no action will be taken on the petition. It should be noted that the regulations in question have been reviewed by Office of the Attorney General and deemed exempt regulations from the Virginia Administrative Process Act, Chapter 40 (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) of Title 2.2 of the Code of Virginia.

As is noted in 19VAC30-70-1, the Virginia Annual Motor Vehicle Inspection Program was developed and adopted to promote highway safety. Its aim is to assure that all Virginia registered vehicles are mechanically safe to operate over the highways of the Commonwealth. The proposed change to the regulation has no significant nexus to this stated purpose. The argument that the chips diminish the effectiveness of horns as warning devices is not persuasive and the abuse of such devices may properly be handled as violations of appropriate noise ordinances.

Of the four public comments received, only the comment submitted by the petitioner himself supported the proposed action. The other comments focused on the usefulness of such devices and the adoption being outside the proper scope of the regulation in question.

The additional requirement would place an economic burden on consumers, manufacturers, and inspections stations. Consumers would be required to have their vehicles altered to comply with the law. Inspection stations would be required to spend additional time ensuring compliance without any additional compensation, which is limited by Code. Manufacturers would be required to ensure that vehicles sold or registered in Virginia are capable of complying with the law.

In reaching its determination the department also considered the fact that the effectiveness of the proposed regulation would be minimal as it would only apply to those vehicles registered in Virginia and subject to the Virginia Annual Motor Vehicle Inspection Program. Out-of-state vehicles operating in the Commonwealth would not be prohibited from having the devices in active mode.

Agency Contact: Ronald B. Saunders, Captain, Safety Division, Department of State Police, P.O. Box 27472, Richmond, VA 23261-7472, telephone (804) 674-6774, FAX (804) 674-2961, or email

VA.R. Doc. No. R10-12; Filed January 20, 2010, 2:10 p.m.