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UK Tests Acoustic Cameras to Help Crack Down on Loud Cars

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Per the BBC, the Department for Transport is currently testing acoustic cameras in the U.K. These “noise cameras” will measure the decibel level of vehicles on public roads. An onboard microphone will detect which vehicles emit excess noise. If it senses that a car or motorcycle is too loud, it will then trigger a camera to take a picture of the vehicle registration number and any other relevant images so the owner can receive a ticket.  

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Photo: fietzfotos

Defining “loud”

The U.K. is still defining what “excessive noise” means, however. Back in 2016, the region established a law which required new vehicles to have a noise level of 74 decibels or less. The newest vehicles tend to adhere to this lower noise-level. Older vehicles and motorcycles that have been modified tend to be at fault for any complaints of loudness.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling endorses his support of the cameras as they undergo the testing phase. “This technology could provide an alternative to make sure those communities are protected against excessive noise, that the people who are acting illegally are prosecuted… it’s a simpler, easier way of doing it.”

More details

The main complaints have been coming from campaigners in rural communities who value the quiet, pastoral landscape of their residences. One of the campaigners, Dr. Jonathan Moore, articulated how locals are sick and tired of motorcyclists driving through villages at anti-social hours. Though, he’s skeptical that the noise cameras’ technology will be advanced enough to work in the wide open spaces of the countryside. 

It will be interesting to see if the U.K. adopts the noise cameras and stricter noise-reduction policies. If it does, those who “soup up” older vehicle and motorcycle models will have to comply with the more rigid noise-emission standards when modifying them. 

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News Sources: BBC, Mental Floss