California Mulls uses sound-activated cameras to catch loud cars
A new bill has been approved by the California State Legislature that automates the Golden State’s enforcement of its loud vehicle law from January 2023 to December 2027. Senate Bill 1079 wants to use sound-activated cameras to catch noisy cars in six West Coast cities, Automatic week reports. As of this writing, the new bill has yet to be signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom.
California is known for its strict enforcement of road user laws, especially in terms of emissions and the future of electric vehicles.
According to SB 1079, the five-year-old “sound-activated enforcement system” uses cameras with sensors that activate whenever set noise levels exceed the limit. Once triggered, the cameras should be able to “get a clear photograph of a vehicle’s license plate”.
It should be noted that the current legal limit for exhaust ratings in California – 95 decibels for cars and 80 for motorcycles built after 1985 – will continue if the bill is signed by the governor. However, details on how the cameras can focus on the offending vehicle in the middle of the sea of cars, as well as how they can differentiate cars from motorcycles, are not yet available.
The specific cities and roads where the automated application will be used are not specified in SB 1079. However, a spokesperson for California State Senator Anthony Portantino said the city government will be responsible for determining which arteries will have sound-activated cameras, Automatic week reports.
Meanwhile, new legislation has established rules to protect road users. Traffic signs will be mandatory before entering roads with an automated enforcement, while first-time offenders will not be fined. Municipal governments will also be required to develop payment plans, deferral options and fine waivers for low-income offenders who exhibit a temporary inability to pay.
The amount of the fine for offenders is not yet fixed to date.
California isn’t the first state to use an automated camera system to crack down on loud vehicles. New York currently has a similar system, which can result in fines of $875 and more for violators.