Loud Vehicles Targeted in Latest Trial

A man struggles to sleep with pillows pressed to his ears
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Aug 23, 2023
3 minutes read

A survey from the RAC found that 58% of people are in favour of noise cameras being installed throughout the UK to combat excessive noise from vehicles. The question stems from the £300,000 trial that started in October that identifies a vehicle emitting more than 74dB through cameras and speakers. Of everyone surveyed, 22% were against the idea and 20% unsure.

The main issues with illegally loud vehicles are the health problems associated with it and the subsequent social cost. Heart attacks, strokes and dementia are linked to excessive road noise, while social costs can include a lack of sleep leading to productivity loss. The Department for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) estimates this social cost from urban noise to be anywhere between 7 and 10 billion pounds in England alone.

Despite these issues, there is no legal requirement for an MOT to check for excessive exhaust noise. Instead, if drivers are caught, they face a £50 on-the-spot fine for exceeding the 74dB limit. While 39% feel as though this is about right, 37% disagreed and 24% were unsure. Of those looking for harsher fines, 43% were in favour of a £200 fine and a ban on driving until the exhaust complies with legal limits. Londoners were more in favour of this, at 67%.

Vehicle exhausts and silencers are required to be maintained properly. If they are altered to increase their noise, it puts drivers at risk of being handed the £50 fine. The cameras that will detect these excessive noises are hoped to catch many drivers who have modified their exhausts in this way.

Noise cameras work in a few different ways at once. A number of microphones trigger the cameras and take pictures of a number plate and record noise levels. This information is then passed onto local police who can then identify the drivers and issue fines. Bradford, Great Yarmouth, Birmingham and South Gloucestershire were all included in the trial, but the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was the first local authority to trial them in May last year.

Once the findings of the trial are published, it’s hoped that it will be positive and allow for wider placement across the country. State-of-the-art camera equipment that can enforce the law should be able to keep up with the modern age, especially when antisocial racers are prolific and often go unpunished.

At least 34% of people surveyed said that they regularly hear loud engine revving or excessive exhaust noise. In London, this was up to 47% and 40% in both Wales and Scotland. Over half of all drivers even specified that they occasionally hear one or more vehicles with especially loud exhausts.

Instead of waiting for the results of the survey, there is one way you can reduce external noise. Adding an extra layer of glazing to your windows can cut down on excessive outside noise, which is especially useful at nighttime. Single glazing can be upgraded to double or triple glazing, which acts as an extra barrier against decibels. Even secondary glazing can be helpful in reducing noise.

Double glazing can be as effective at reducing noise transmission by 35dB. Triple glazing can work out at a 26–40dB reduction, while secondary glazing can be as much as 54dB. As repeated exposure to noises above 70dB can damage your hearing, there’s never been a better time to have noise-cancelling windows. Acoustic glazing can even be added to amplify this effect. Take a look at double glazing quotes on our sister site, Eco Quote Today.