NY slapping big fines on sports cars in effort to limit noise

NEW YORK: Authorities in New York, seeking to quieten down the city that never sleeps well, have begun issuing fines to drivers of excessively noisy cars, and even drivers of unmodified sports cars are reportedly falling foul of new rules.

Officials have been levying the fines since last December as part of a new noise abatement pilot programme, which also aims to curb excessive car horn honking.

US car magazine Car & Driver quoted one driver who said he received an US$800 (around RM3,800) noise violation ticket for creating too much of a din with his 2010 Porsche 911 Carrera S fitted with the manufacturer's standard exhaust set-up. His appeal against the fine failed twice.

Police are using smart cameras costing US$35,000 (RM166,000) and highly-sensitive microphones to impose the rules. The instruments detect and capture everything from loud crackling exhausts and backfires to honking and blasting music.

"Even in the city that doesn't sleep, New Yorkers deserve some peace and quiet," said Manhattan council member Keith Powers in December when the council voted in favour of the rules.

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Prior to the approval of the pilot programme, a small noise camera test programme, in force in New York since 2021, issued 218 noise violations in 2023 for allegedly modified exhaust systems.

Court documents cited another case of a standard 2018 Jaguar F-Type, receiving and being held to the $800 fine for making 86 decibels of noise - one decibel over the limit - earlier this year.

Noise enforcement standards are more relaxed in most other US states, with California tolerating a standard of 95 decibels for cars and 80 for motorcycles built after 1985.

Cities in Germany, France and the UK have also trialled similar decibel monitoring devices, and other US cities are also considering doing so.

New York officials said while enthusiasts often admire loud exhaust notes, the tolerance of the general public often falls far below that level.
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