The technology, which is paired with a sound meter to detect noise of at least 85 decibels from a source of 50ft or more away, has recently been installed across several cities in the US to help police identify vehicles that have been illegally modified to be louder.
While having to tolerate noise is the reality of residing in any major city, there’s one sound in particular that’s a highly unnecessary addition to the daily hustle and bustle of urban life.
I’m referring to the deafening vrooms of performance-enhanced vehicles, which have recently become as commonplace as the pounding music of bars, the babble of pedestrians, and the horn-honking of irritable drivers stuck in standstill traffic.
And because we know now that noise pollution is more than just a nuisance – it’s a health risk, not only driving hearing loss, tinnitus, and hypersensitivity to sound, but exacerbating and causing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and mental health conditions – local authorities deem combatting this a top priority for the safety of metropolitans.
‘Most people recognise that too much noise damages your hearing, but we’re getting increasingly concerned as there is a rich body of literature connecting noise with high blood pressure and the risk of a heart attack or strokes,’ says Richard Neitzel, an environmental health studies professor at the University of Michigan.
‘It’s harming us in ways that are potentially fatal, and much more common than we historically understood.’
So, how are experts seeking to tackle the growing problem of anti-social individuals in built-up areas who’ve illegally modified their cars or motorcycles to wreak havoc on our eardrums?
With noise cameras, which are an improvement on traditional speed cameras that work by using sensors to flag speeding vehicles and log the offender’s licence plate so they can be prosecuted.