From bus lane cameras to good-old-fashioned speed traps, there are multiple ways for motorists to get papped and fined by the authorities. And soon, there’ll be a new way to get a penalty charge notice landing on your doormat in the UK.
The government’s Department For Transport will be testing acoustic cameras in multiple locations over the next seven months. If a passing vehicle is detected - via a microphone - to be breaching legal noise limits for road usage, a photo will be taken to pick up its number plate.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said that the technology is intended to counter the UK’s police force - which has received various funding cuts over the last few years - being too overstretched to combat “boy racers in souped-up vehicles” breaking noise rules.
However, there’ll also be plenty of motorbikes out there which stand a good chance of setting off such devices. If you’ve been running your cans without baffles, you might want to think about popping them back in quite soon.
Motorcycle Industry Association CEO Tony Cambell said:
“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.”
If the test is successful, there’ll be a full rollout of these noise cameras. The UK won’t be the first country to go down this route, however - similar tech is already in use in the USA. Meanwhile in Edmonton, Canada last year, a trial backfired when road users treated systems with decibel noise displays - which the authorities couldn’t yet use to issue fines - as scoreboards…