The United Kingdom government is trying out a new camera system that targets vehicles which are breaking noise limits, Autocar reports. The ‘noise camera’ prototypes will be installed at several locations over the next seven months, and they will record the sound levels of passing vehicles while automated number plate recognition will identify offenders.

The move was initiated by the country’s department for transport as it believes that ‘illegal, excessively noisy vehicles’ can make life a ‘misery’ for those living close by, especially in rural areas, and can have ‘very serious health impacts’, the report said.

The UK department for transport says that current enforcement is mainly reactive and relies on subjective judgement, it added, and says that the new ‘noise camera’ setup being trialled “will determine whether the legal noise limit has been breached by taking into account the class and speed of the vehicle relative to the location of the noise camera.”

Excerpts from Environmental Quality (Motor Vehicle Noise) Regulations, 1987 for Malaysia. Click to enlarge

“The trial isn’t intended to target law-abiding drivers but those who are flouting laws around noise. All vehicles must legally meet strict noise limits before they are allowed on the road. Once a vehicle is in service, exhausts and silencers must by law be maintained in good working order and not altered to increase noise,” said UK transport secretary Chris Grayling.

As for Malaysia, vehicle noise is subject to Environmental Quality (Motor Vehicle Noise) Regulations, 1987 under the Environmental Quality Act, which states that the “maximum sound level permitted for motor vehicles having more than three wheels” is 80 dBA for passenger vehicles with up to nine seats, and 81 dBA for passenger vehicles for passenger vehicles comprising more than nine seats, but with a permitted maximum weight of no more than 3.5 tonnes; basically, vehicles which are driven on a D licence.

Meanwhile, the “maximum sound level permitted for motor vehicles having two or three wheels” (motorcycles and sidecars) is 95 dBA for vehicles with an engine capacity of 125 cc or less, and 99 dBA for those with engines larger than 125 cc.