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NYC approves new measure for citywide noise cameras to crackdown on loud cars

By WABC Staff

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    NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — The New York City Council approved a new measure that will establish a citywide noise camera program.

The landmark program called “Stop Spreading the Noise Act,” hopes to crack down on loud vehicles by implementing cameras that can detect drivers who break the city’s noise limit.

The Department of Environmental Protection says seven cameras have already been placed strategically and very covertly, and are up and running.

If a vehicle’s sound is over 85 decibels, which is about as loud as a lawn mower, the cameras will begin to record in order to capture the license plate.

A fine ranging between $800 and $2,500 would then be mailed to the vehicle’s owner.

The program is meant to identify cars with modified mufflers, loud motorcycles and excessive honking, as experts say regular exposure to loud noises can cause higher stress levels and difficulty sleeping.

As of late last month, the city issued 218 violations to drivers with modified mufflers, and147 to excessive honkers.

Councilman Keith Powers, the key sponsor of the new legislation, hopes to have many more cameras in all five boroughs by 2025.

“Even in the city that doesn’t sleep, New Yorkers deserve some peace and quiet,” Powers said. “Today, we’re helping make that a reality with the Stop Spreading the Noise Act, a package of bills that cracks down on the frustrating — and harmful — noise pollution found throughout our city.”

However, some people worry that the new technology poses a big risk to New Yorkers’ privacy.

The city plans to install at least five cameras per borough by September 30, 2025.

“Obnoxious noise from illegally modified cars and trucks is a top quality-of-life complaint for New Yorkers and our Noise Camera Program is proving very popular in neighborhoods across the five boroughs,” the Department of Environmental Protection said in a statement. “We thank Council Member Powers and the rest of the City Council for their support and we will continue to work together to expand the program in the coming years.”

Officials will now go over the date, look at 311 calls to see where the greatest number of these types of noise complaints are, and put cameras there. They will review the fine and penalty structure.

“History and time will let us adjust the program so we can make sure it works and is effective,” Powers said.

That is something critics are watching, making sure the cameras are not disproportionality placed in certain neighborhood and that privacy is a top priority.

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