Photo credit: Craig Adderley from Pexels

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

Add New York City to the cities abroad that are pilot testing noise cameras to capture loud vehicles that are imposing loud and harmful sounds on community residents. To quote Commissioner Rit Aggarwala, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection), the agency overseeing this pilot study:

Vehicles that emit obnoxious levels of noise in violation of state and city law have become a top quality of life concern for many New Yorkers and this technology offers some real promise in helping us to provide some relief for our neighbors.

Noise is indeed a quality of life issue—it adversely affects our mental and physical health.

The sound meter and camera the DEP is deploying will be installed adjacent to a roadway and it will be able to detect a noise at 50 feet or more that is louder than 85 decibels and, at the same time, will capture the offending vehicle’s license plate. The owner will have to bring the vehicle to a DEP facility to insure it is in compliance with state and city noise laws.And there will also be financial penalties.

DEP stated that it will assess the effectiveness of this pilot program by checking on 311 complaints regarding loud vehicles.

I am especially pleased to see the introduction of this sound meter and camera pilot program and will be asking to see the assessment of 311 vehicle noise complaints after the pilot program is in effect for a short period of time. Similar data should be available from other cities that are introducing similar pilot programs to lessen vehicle noise. I am certain residents affected by these obnoxious vehicles are hoping for the success of these pilot programs.