New York is the latest city to fight back against the racket caused by cars and motorbikes fitted illegal aftermarket exhausts. Streets in Manhattan have been equipped with British-made SoundVue noise detectors that are triggered by 85 decibels from any source at least 15 metres away.
Under New York’s Stop Loud and Excessive Exhaust Pollution (Sleep) Act, the drivers of loud vehicles will be fined $220 for a first offence up to $2,625 for repeat offenders.
There’s no threshold limit for road traffic noise across the EU, but people who live in areas affected by high levels of road traffic noise may be more likely to suffer heart attacks than people in quieter areas, according to a study of 1,500 people in Stockholm. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute found levels of traffic noise above 50 decibels increased the risk of heart attack by 40 per cent.
Noise pollution remains a serious and under-reported environmental problem. According to the World Health Organisation, 40 per cent of Europeans are regularly exposed to road traffic noise exceeding 55 decibels – a level of sound considered illegal in Sweden when detected at the front of a building.
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