Australian police and transport authorities will monitor the British development and trial of prototype noise cameras that can detect loud motor vehicle exhausts.
The UK Department of Transport will test the prototype cameras in the coming months, but will not fine offenders.
“New camera technology to be trialled by the government aims to measure the sound levels of passing vehicles to detect those that are breaking the law on noise limits, and could use automated number plate recognition to help enforce the law,” the UK Department of Transport notice says.
“Research commissioned by the Department for Transport, found that a noise camera system could help tackle extremely noisy vehicles which breach legal noise limits.
“It could also help to catch those who rev car or motorcycle engines beyond legal limits, making life a misery for those who live close by.”
While the UK DoT could not supply us with any images of the camera, they did provide this tiny drawing showing a camera pointed at an oncoming car.
Surely the camera should be behind the vehicle!
The DoT says exhaust noise enforcement is reactive and relies on the subjective judgement of police which some motorcycle representatives claim is fatally flawed.
However, the noise cameras would take away the subjectivity and provide authorities with a method of fining offenders like a speed camera.
Australia is watching and listening
We contacted police and road authorities in each state to gauge their interest in the noise cameras.
We received mainly non-committal replies saying they monitor the development and introduction of all traffic enforcement technologies around the world.
WA Police were the only ones to admit they are aware of the UK prototype noise cameras.
“While there are no current plans to trial such a camera in Western Australia, as with all emerging technologies, WA Police Force will monitor the activity in the UK and seek information on its operational effectiveness,” a media spokesperson told us.
Meanwhile, Queensland Transport and Main Roads has trialled other equipment but only to detect noise levels of heavy vehicles.
“Although the technology can potentially be used for detecting noisy, modified or defective exhausts in light vehicles and/or motorcycles there is currently no plan to extend the trials or legislation to include those vehicles, in Queensland,” a spokesperson says.
“Light vehicles and motorcycles do have to comply with the vehicle noise standard (ADR83/00) which defines the limits on external noise generated by all light and heavy vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds in order to limit the contribution of motor traffic to community noise. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure noise emissions comply with current standards.”
UK Motorcycle Industry Association CEO Tony Campbell supports the trial.
“With growing pressure on the environment, including noise pollution, illegal exhausts fitted by some riders attract unwanted attention to the motorcycle community and do nothing to promote the many benefits motorcycles can offer,” he says.
“All manufacturers produce new motorcycles that follow strict regulations regarding noise and emissions and we welcome these trials as a potential way of detecting excessive noise in our community.”