UK drivers want noise cameras to catch and fine loud motorists

Photo credit: Omar Ramadan

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

Readers of the Quiet Coalition blog know that Quiet Communities has followed the introduction of noise cameras as a way to lessen vehicle noise. Noise cameras are triggered by a number of microphones and can pinpoint and photograph vehicles exceeding legal noise limits. A recent article from the British automotive service company Royal Automotive Club discussed results from a questionnaire given to drivers in the United Kingdom on how they feel about cameras that could detect illegal loud exhaust pipes and revved-up engines.

The survey found that 58% of drivers would favor noise cameras, once the effects of these cameras are more well-known. The study found that 22% of drivers were against the idea and 20% were unsure. Trials exploring these cameras’ ability to identify vehicles exceeding acceptable sound levels have been going on around the UK. Drivers who exceeded the 74-decibel limit were fined. The survey found that drivers had different opinions on these fines — 50 pounds issued on the spot. Some said the £50 fine was appropriate, while others disagreed. Other drivers thought the fine should be higher, especially those living in London.

The article includes that road noise is harmful to health and there is a social and monetary cost to individuals exposed to road noise. Yes, noise affects health and productivity. Simon Williams, RAC’s head of policy, said that it is wrong to allow drivers to impose excessively loud noise and he hopes that noise camera studies will provide the data that “will help bring peace and tranquility back to our towns.” I say kudos to Williams’ remarks. I would like to see New York City release data on noise camera pilot projects. That could be the first step in lessening the loud vehicle driving in the city.

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