The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced new funding and measures to try and clamp down on illegally modified car and van exhausts. These are often loud and can be very disturbing both for other road users, pedestrians and local residents who will all welcome this new attempt to resolve the issue, noise late in the evening is especially annoying.
In essence, new technologies have been developed which will enable the automatic flagging up of modified new and used cars whose exhaust noise exceeds a certain decibel level. Around £300,000 has been made available by the DfT and this is now going to be trialled in several regions across England and Wales.
Local MPs will be asked to put forward a case as to why the trial should go ahead in their constituencies, and it is hoped this will begin to remedy some of the problems being raised by residents and other road users.
Excessive exhaust noise can trigger other issues such as anxiety, sleep deprivation and stress; all of these can lead to more severe, even potentially life-threatening conditions, such as heart attacks.
One issue that affects authorities currently is the burden of proof. While police can able fixed penalty notices of £50 if they suspect a driver is breaking any noise limit, proving this can be troublesome.
The updated devices will aim to not only provide a definitive means of proving that exhaust sounds are breaking noise limits but could also automatically notify law enforcement and other local authorities of the problem.
The ability to generate and deliver real-time reports of noise pollution could help police to track down and catch offending motorists and provide the real-world evidence that a successful prosecution would require.
Given that some buyers adapt their vehicles as soon as the trade plates are removed, any way to crack down on this activity will be a boon for many.
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The detector was initially launched in 2019 with around three years of development and trials envisaged. The latest round of testing will involve residents and local authorities, with the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, hoping that residents who are continually disturbed by these loud noises will come forward and help test the new systems.
In 2010 an estimate put the financial cost of excessive road noise pollution and its spin-off issues, at around £10 billion annually, and this figure could well be higher now.
Given the many other expensive issues in the motor trade currently, such as new insurance policy costs and the drive towards more electric vehicles, any way to reduce wasteful public spending will be welcome.
The DfT has confirmed that Atkins-Jacobs Joint Venture will lead the trials and provide consultancy services such as data modelling and expertise in acoustics. It is hoped that both urban and rural areas will participate in the trials.