Rowdy Road Drivers Beware! The UK Tests Sound-Detecting Cameras To Catch Boy Racers

The UK government is testing a new type of road camera to tackle noise pollution on some of the noisiest streets in Britain. Transport Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, warns: “Rowdy road drivers beware – these new cameras will help the police clampdown on those who break the legal noise limits or use illegal modified exhausts to make excessive noise in our communities.”

The new tech combines a video camera with several microphones, and is able to pinpoint overly loud vehicles as they pass by. This means that drivers who rev their engine or illegally modify their car’s exhaust will be automatically detected, the noise level recorded and a picture of the vehicle taken—all of which will be used by the local police to issue fines to these “boy racers”.

Noise-detecting camera being tested in France. Image source:

According to the press release announcing the trial, road noise contribute to health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes and dementia; the government estimates that the social cost of road noise pollution, including lost productivity from sleep disturbance and health costs, is up to an estimated value of £10 billion a year.

The trial will cost the government £300,000 and the noise-detecting cameras will be installed at Bradford and then at South Gloucestershire, Great Yarmouth and Birmingham (determined by a competition to identify noise areas and not one to boast about when won) over the next two months. If successful, the UK could see a nationwide roll-out.

The Noise Abatement Society’s Chief Executive, Gloria Elliott OBE, said that communities across the UK are increasingly suffering from the blight of excessively noisy vehicles and disruption to people’s “peaceful enjoyment” of home and public places. She added, “The Noise Abatement Society applauds rigorous, effective, evidence-based solutions to address this issue and protect the public.”

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