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Very soon, excessive noise from traffic might be penalised in Paris

Paris and other French cities to use sound radars for vehicles

Paris and other French cities to use sound radars for vehicles

The experiment is unique worldwide and it aims to reduce noise pollution

In an attempt to fight against noise pollution, the French government announced last week that it had launched an experiment with so-called 'sound radars'. The radars will check for drivers running at excessive speed, or for those driving “tampered” vehicles. The move is part of an experiment in 7 local communities and will last 2 years. Although it is a test, noisy drivers could nevertheless be subject to fines of up to 135 euros.

Reinforcing the tools against traffic-related noise pollution

Noise pollution can have a major impact on one’s wellbeing and health. Moreover, it can have financial dimensions: the Ministry of Ecological Transition estimates that it costs around 147 billion euros every year to French society. In addition, citing Bruitparif, they explain that excessive noise causes a loss of nearly 11 months of healthy life expectancy.

Reducing noise pollution, therefore, needs active measures, especially when it is caused by human activity. Such is the case with noise caused by traffic and even more so with driving at manifestly excessive speeds or "tampered" vehicles.

To control this, the French state will be placing fixed and mobile automatic monitoring devices, also called "sound radars". Unlike existing sound radars, which can be used only upon stopping the vehicle for traffic control, the new devices should simplify sound controls and improve their efficiency. This will make it possible to penalize behaviour aimed at artificially increasing the noise generated by a vehicle.

Exceeding noise levels while driving will be penalised and easier to control

The experiment will unfold in two phases:

  • Phase 1 has already begun in early January 2022 and will allow for road tests in real conditions without finding any infringements. It will also be the time to inform drivers through a special campaign and indications. During this phase, a noise level of up to 90 decibels will be tested, above which drivers will be observed (with exceptions for some types of vehicles). The exact sound threshold level will be set at the end of this phase.
  • Phase 2 will begin once speed cameras have been installed. This part will unfold in real traffic conditions, which means that the offenders will be fined up to 135 euros (or 90 euros, if paid within 15 days).

Where in France will sound radars be tested?

Seven territorial unities in France will participate in experimentation with sound radars. The cities which volunteered and were selected to participate in the experiment are the following:

  • Urban: City of Paris and the Metropolises of Nice and Toulouse;
  • Peri-urban: Communes of Bron, Villeneuve le Roi and Rueil Malmaison ;
  • Rural: Communes of the Haute Vallée de Chevreuse (CCHVC).

The radars will not encompass the entire territories, only the locations specified on the map in the gallery. Depending on the results of the experiment, sound radar devices may be deployed throughout the national territory provided that the appropriate legislation is passed.

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