by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, and Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition
The Stop Loud and Excessive Exhaust Pollution Act was passed by the New York State legislature and will soon be sent to Governor Cuomo for his signature. SLEEP is a perfect acronym for this act because it is exactly what residents were not getting when “motorists raced souped-up vehicles” through the empty streets during the pandemic. Though the impact of the pandemic is less now as New York City is opening up, residents are still dealing with noisy racing vehicles. This act aims to increase fines and regulations against both the drivers of these noisy-making vehicles as well as the repair shops that modify vehicles to make them noisier.
One hopes that increasing the fines from $150 for modifying a muffler to $1,000 will deter car and motorcycle owners from making their vehicles louder. Additionally, the bill will allow the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to “deny or revoke shop licenses to businesses that are caught selling noise-increasing devices more than three times in an 18-month period.” Such a penalty should act as a deterrent for businesses.
A companion bill in the Senate Committee Rules Committee also deals with cutting down on drag racing which communities, especially Bayside, Queens, have been complaining about most vociferously.
The legislature understands that noise is not “just an annoyance” but a hazard to our mental and physical health. The SLEEP Act is now in the hands of the governor and with the growing awareness of the dangers of noise to our well-being, one would expect the governor will sign legislation to curb intrusive noise.