by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies
Legislation signed by Governor Hochul on Friday to “increase penalties against motorists and repair shops that illegally modify mufflers and exhaust systems to make them excessively noisy” has been welcomed enthusiastically by the many New York City residents who have been kept awake by these loud vehicles night after night. Preventing New Yorkers from receiving adequate sleep can indeed impede their health. Noise pollution is a health hazard!
The legislation, known as the SLEEP Act, was introduced by State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, in response to the many complaints they received from their constituents who reported these noisy vehicles were intruding on their health and well-being. With the pandemic increasing the levels of stress among residents, these loud vehicles serve to exacerbate this stress. Furthermore, as the article indicates, loud driving is too often accompanied by reckless driving. Thus, this legislation is hoped to reduce reckless driving as well as noise.
As with all legislation, the good the legislation hopes to bring about can only be realized if the legislation is enforced. One hopes the legislators who supported the SLEEP ACT will encourage and monitor enforcement.