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

Emma Morgan, The Connexion, writes that in rural France the first “fixed sound-level radar camera device” to monitor vehicle road sounds is now in operation. While January 4th marked the day when this camera was introduced on a road, especially popular with motorbike and scooter riders, to teach all drivers to reduce the levels of loud sounds emitted by their vehicles, actual fines will not be imposed until the second half of this year. While 90 decibels have been set as the limit allowed to be emitted by most vehicles, there will be some allowance made for more powerful vehicles. The wait to actually impose fines will allow authorities to assess the reliability of the sound-level camera.

There are plans to install additional sound radar devices in other French areas where this sound monitoring system has been tested out for nearly two years already and will be “trialed for two years” more. Paris and Nice are on this list.

Morgan goes on to stress the adverse health effects of noise related to sleep loss and the loss in property values, in addition to stating that noise pollution was found to “shorten people’s life expectancy by nearly 11 months” in the densely populated Paris. Furthermore, a survey of French residents demonstrated strong support for penalties for loud motorbikes and scooters. Interestingly, cars were not included in this finding.

In an earlier blog, I wrote about legislation introduced in New York State by State Senator Gounardes to set up a pilot test on noise cameras in New York City. That legislation is still in the State Senate committee. That legislation must also be supported by the New York City Council to move forward. When the legislation is passed, New York City will have the data from the European City pilot tests to guide it in designing and testing out its own demonstration project.