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UK drivers back noise camera crackdown on loud exhausts and anti-social engines

Six out of ten drivers say new noise camera tech should be rolled out nationwide to catch and fine owners of excessively loud vehicles

Toyota Supra - exhausts

Cameras designed to detect cars or motorbikes with illegally loud exhaust systems, or to catch drivers who are revving unnecessarily, are supported by the majority of drivers a new survey reveals.

The RAC asked drivers if they would be in favour of ‘noise cameras’ being introduced on UK roads, following completion of trials to test the technology being undertaken by the Department for Transport. 

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58 per cent of those quizzed supported the introduction of noise cameras, with 22 per cent against, and 20 per cent unsure.

Noise cameras work via multiple directional microphones that are able to pinpoint the source of a noisy exhaust, and provide a recording of the noise level, along with photographs of the culprit. This digital package of evidence can potentially be used by police to identify and prosecute drivers.

Trials of the technology started in Bradford last year, and it has also been tested in Great Yarmouth, Birmingham and South Gloucestershire. The Department of Transport is analysing the results of the trial, but there’s no commitment yet for any further measures or even a timetable for a response.

Police are able to issue £50 on-the-spot fines for noisy exhausts, but the RAC says that in its survey respondents called for a range of sanctions including a ban on vehicles being driven until they are made compliant with noise regulations.

A third of drivers say they regularly hear vehicles that are too noisy, and the government estimates the cost of urban road noise is up to £10bn annually due to lost productivity from sleep disturbance and health costs. Indeed road noise is said to contribute to all manner of health problems including heart attacks and strokes, the RAC says.

The organisation’s head of policy, Simon Williams, says: “Research with drivers shows there is a very strong desire to put an end to the scourge of excessively noisy vehicles that disturb the peace.

“It’s plain wrong that those who have fitted their cars with modified exhausts, some motorbike riders and supercar owners can currently just get away with making an unacceptable amount of noise. Fortunately, the Department for Transport’s recent noise camera trials may provide the solution. We hope the findings are positive and that the technology can be quickly and cost-efficiently rolled out to the worst affected areas.”

What are your thoughts on this exhaust noise crackdown? Let us know in the comments...

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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