by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, and Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition
With legislation awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature that would allow police officers to better assess sound levels of loud cars and then impose penalties on those drivers and with other legislation introduced to install noise cameras in a pilot project, it was not unexpected to that there would be some pushback from drivers who are “investing their money in their loud hobby.” To these people, loud driving is a recreation. But as Danny Pearlstein correctly points out in an opinion in Streetsblog, “[l]oud driving is a destructive recreation.”
Pearlstein stresses the adverse impacts of loud driving on the health and well-being of residents exposed to these dangerous sounds. The noise created by these drivers prevent people from getting needed sleep for better health as well as making “it harder to learn at school and be productive at work.” And he notes that “[d]aytime noise drowns out teachers’ lessons, studying and homework.”
Pearlstein also states that lower-income neighborhoods very likely suffer from more traffic noise and, thus, “the negative health effects of loud driving are also inequitable.”
Pearlstein recognizes that loud driving as a sport also leads to the consumption of more fossil fuels and the increase in carbon emissions, and he supports legislative efforts to clamp down on loud driving. But Pearlstein also supports a public health campaign that brings greater attention to the dangers of this behavior and calls for more billboards, advertising and signage to communicate this message. He hopes that a campaign focusing on the hazards of “loud driving” may reach the ears of the loud drivers and, possibly, make them more aware of their “dangerous hobby.” I do, too!!