Photo credit: Markus Spiske

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

The New York City Council is taking additional action to limit the excessive noise from the loud motor vehicles that race down the City’s streets subjecting residents to the kinds of noise that studies have linked to adverse mental and physical health effects. Councilmember Erik Bottcher has introduced legislation that will double the existing fines for “excessively loud car exhausts and excessive horn honking.”

But when it comes to noise regulation, it is essential for these laws to be enforced if their intent to reduce noise pollution is to be realized. Councilmember Bottcher stressed the necessity to enforce his legislation and noted that the New York Police Department had not been doing its job to enforce existing noise regulations. That NYPD has not been actively involved in issuing motor vehicle noise summonses is supported in this article by the low number of violations that were issued from the beginning of 2020 through the end of March of 2022-just 245 violations. By comparison, when the complaints to 311 were examined, it was found that “vehicle noise complaints climbed into the thousands each month during that time.”

Councilmember Bottcher said his legislation would also allow summonses to be issued by the pilot noise camera program initiated by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. This program captures loud vehicle noise with cameras equipped with microphones that can assess noise levels while reading the license plates of the offending vehicles as well.

Erik Bottcher is hopeful that his legislation, the noise camera pilot program, and stronger police enforcement will reduce “loud engines and needless honking.” New York City residents join him in hoping this will be the case–their health and quality of life depend on it!