EPA reports on its campaign to crack down on loud cars

NOISE POLLUTION: The agency said it acted on 70 cases of vehicles that exceeded government-allowed noise levels, and would keep up the fight

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Sep 12, 2006 - Page 2

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday reported on the progress of its effort to crack down on loud motor vehicles, saying that 70 violation notices had been issued in July and last month.

All of those vehicles were producing noise at levels exceeding government standards. Among them, nine were creating a racket that exceeded 100 decibels, with the loudest reaching a thunderous 107.8 decibels.

Shieh Ping-fei (謝炳輝), director of the administration's air quality protection and noise control department, noted that the government does not have an identical standard for all car models. In general, the standard value for each car model is set based on the information provided by the car manufacturers.

Shieh said that because the standard values are calculated before cars are modified, modifications such as new engines with more horsepower often result in a vehicle that is louder than the government allows.

The campaign against noisy rides was a joint effort between the administration and the National Police Administration (NPA), and part of a larger effort to prevent dangerous or annoying driving in the summertime.

The campaign was carried out in seven cities and counties during the past two months, including Keelung City, Taichung County, Chiayi City, Changhua County, Nantou County, Kaohsiung County and Kaohsiung City.

Both the EPA and NPA mobilized roughly 400 people to listen for loud vehicles from late night until dawn. They targeted several key places to stop motor vehicles, in downtown areas and rest areas along the highways.

Shieh said that the campaign started in May in Taichung County and in July in other counties and cities.

According to the Noise Control Act (噪音防制法), car owners or car users may be fined NT$1,800 (US$56.30) to NT$3,600 if the noise from the cars they drive exceeds the government standard.

While the campaign was stepped up in the summer time, the administration will continue to launch random inspections, Shieh said.