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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

Across the United States, legislative bodies are becoming more aware of the harmful effects of noise on our health and well-being. This is evidenced by the laws that have been introduced to curb “excessively loud exhaust systems.” ABC 15 News reports that starting in July, Virginia police officers will be able to stop vehicles for excessive noise. It had been legal earlier to stop such vehicles but to reduce racial disparities in the justice system, the police had been asked to cease these actions. It is hoped that with proper training and experience, police officers will be able to fulfill the requirements of the law appropriately.

As I have written earlier, legislation that requires drivers to operate vehicles with good working exhaust systems that do not emit sound levels in excess of those stipulated by the law must be followed up by appropriate enforcement. Thus, cities that are required to carry out the laws must set up methodologies to evaluate the effectiveness of such laws. Virginia cities need to keep records on the numbers of violations issued and check on complaints from citizens re: excessively loud vehicles.

As the article notes, “loud cars have created a quality-of-life issue for many community members.” Let me add that loud cars diminish a health quality of life to which all residents are entitled.