Crackdown on noisy exhausts

It is a sound that makes a lot of people very annoyed, and in Wales both the originator of the noise, and the complaints about it is on the increase. It is of course the sound of a modified exhaust fitted to a car.

The exhaust makes a vehicle constantly sound as if it is racing along at 70 mph when in truth it is only travelling at 30 mph. Complaints have been rising to a point where the police now consider it an anti-social act. The legal noise limit for a car exhaust in the UK is 82 decibels, however, this is being superseded regularly, and during police checks the loudest exhaust measured by one police force registered an incredible 107 decibels. This is the same noise level as a chainsaw, a pneumatic road drill, or an aircraft taking off from 300 metres away. One area of Cardiff is to have a clampdown on the noise keeping householders awake at night.

PC Jonathan Edwards, neighbourhood beat manager, said “People like to have their 1.2 litre Corsa sound like a tiger. But purely and simply it’s affecting people’s quality of life. People are not able to open their windows in the summer because it’s waking their kids up. There’s a lady in the area that has two disabled children and sometimes they are woken up in the middle of the night. I’m hoping that this can be implemented in Cardiff and rolled out to other areas of South Wales and neighbouring forces.”

Drivers should always inform their insurance company when adding one of these exhausts in case their motor insurance quote will need amending. The police are using a handheld vehicle noise measurement kit during the month long operation. PC Edwards has so far tested 25 modified exhausts at the roadside, of the 25 tested, 21 had illegal decibel noise, and some of the vehicles even had exhausts designed for a racing car. Even though the legal level of noise is 82 decibels, the police used 90 to take into account wear and tear. To date no fines have been issued. Drivers seemed unaware it was an offence, so for the time being police are concentrating on educating the drivers.

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