A recent statement by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP has confirmed that government is taking steps to address the problem of excessively noisy vehicles. Mr Grayling said, “Noise pollution makes the lives of people in communities across Britain an absolute misery and has very serious health impacts. This is why I am determined to crack down on the nuisance drivers who blight our streets.” And the proposed solution is to install a number of prototype noise-activated cameras at sites around the UK.
The new roadside cameras will contain an integrated noise meter which can sense when an approaching vehicle is breaching legal noise limits. The camera will take a picture of the offending vehicle, and automated number plate recognition software will allow officers to identify the culprit and enforce the law. There are no plans to impose fines just yet, but if the trial proves successful, the system will be rolled out across the country, and offenders can expect to be hit with appropriate penalties.
What’s the problem?
All new vehicles are required to meet strict noise limits when they roll off the production line. But some drivers adapt their exhaust systems to make them sound sportier and more aggressive, while drivers of poorly maintained cars with defective exhaust silencers can make just as much racket, albeit unintentionally. And ‘boy racers’ who rev their engines excessively can also breach noise limits, even if their car is totally road legal. Yet whatever the reason for the excessive noise, the new monitoring system will seek to identify all kinds of culprits – and force them to pipe down.
Noise and health
Studies have shown that noise disturbance can have a serious impact on our physical and mental health, with excessive exposure linked to increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Loss of sleep caused by noisy vehicles waking up residents at night can cause stress, and long-term sleep debt can lead to conditions like depression and anxiety. So illegally loud vehicles aren’t just a nuisance, they’re a real threat to our health and wellbeing. Plus noise pollution can have a harmful effect on local wildlife too.