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New Noise Camera Targets Illegally Loud Vehicles

By Stephen Turvil | June 17, 2019


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New, prototype noise camera targets nuisance drivers who have excessively loud vehicles – and could issue fines.

New Noise Camera Targets Illegally Loud Vehicles

Illegal vehicle modifications

Motorists that have excessively loud vehicles might soon be penalised by a new noise camera being trialled in the United Kingdom in 2019, the Department for Transport confirmed. To be legal cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles must be relatively quiet so they do not excessively disturb the people in close proximity. Vehicles meet this criteria when they leave the factory.

However, a motorist that is unconcerned by noise pollution can modify a vehicle to make it louder. The exhaust might be adapted, for example. The intention is to make it sound sportier, faster, and more aggressive. The vehicle might then race through residential areas in the middle of the night and disturb residents.

Alternatively, the vehicle might have its original specification but be in terrible condition. Perhaps the exhaust silencer has rusted to nothing. This component makes the vehicle far, far quieter so any fault has a significant impact. ‘Exhausts and silencers must by law be maintained in good working order and not altered to increase noise’, the Department for Transport confirmed.

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How noise camera works

The prototype system works on a simple premise. As a vehicle passes, a microphone notes how noisy it is. If it is too noisy, automatic number plate recognition identifies the vehicle and its keeper. The system could then issue a fine – but nobody will be punished during the 7 month trial. This trial spans multiple sites.

The Department for Transport said if the trial is successful ‘recommendations will be made to further develop the system in the UK.’ Noise enforcement might be permanently set-up, in other words.

The Department added that long term exposure to excess noise is linked to a wide range of health problems. These include: heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stress. The National Health Service has to treat such issues at a cost to the tax payer.

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Noisy vehicles blight landscape

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘Noise pollution makes the lives of people in communities across Britain an absolute misery, and has very serious health impacts. I am determined to crack down on nuisance drivers who blight our streets. New technology will help us lead the way in making towns and cities quieter’, he added.

Motorcycle Industry Association Chief Executive, Tony Campbell, also backed the enforcement system. He said: ‘Illegal exhausts fitted by some riders attract unwanted attention to the motorcycle community. All manufacturers produce new motorcycles that follow strict regulations regarding noise and emissions. We welcome this trial as a potential way of detecting excess noise’, he concluded.

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