France becomes the next country to begin noise camera trials, targeting motorcycles and supercars.

Noise cameras are picking up momentum and will likely soon be used to issue tickets to offending drivers. Ultimately, the devices will be in place to deter loud vehicles – such as modified enthusiast cars, supercars and motorcycles – from congregating in certain areas.

Following the UK which rolled out systems earlier this year, France has stepped up trails of ‘noise cameras’, installing almost 40 of the sound traps which use four microphones to triangulate the origin and decibel rating of exhaust systems. For now, no tickets are being issued, but new laws look set to be voted in soon that will see penalties sent to drivers and riders.

Non-profit organisation Bruitparif manufacturers the devices used in France, which have been deployed in popular tourist areas and entertainment districts. Rather than set a decibel noise level that cars must be under, the trial is assessing what the average sound level is. The data will help formulate what sound level should be considered a fineable offence.

It won’t be an issue for electric vehicles, which even with supercar-performance don’t produce much sound. However, both old and new combustion-engine vehicles will be the target noise cameras.

Many modern vehicles use a butterfly flap in the exhaust to keep noise quiet below certain rpm. But once that limit is reached the butterfly opens to produce a meatier growl. Some new vehicles such as the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and Jaguar F Type SVR produce up to 90 decibels, which is almost the equivalent of a Boeing 737 or DC-9 aircraft before landing. Despite being factory-spec vehicles, they could potentially trigger the noise cameras recording details.

France will run the trial for two years, though the pending introduction of new laws making loud cars illegal suggests such systems will be on the radar for many governments around the world, including Australia.

Didier Gonzales, Mayor of Villeneuve-le-Roi – a town next to Paris Orly airport – said that policing noise pollution will have a positive impact on health.

“Noise is the bane of modern life and a major health issue. It hurts people like secondary smoking does,” he told Reuters.

“With this tool, it is not possible to dispute who made the noise.”

Villeneuve official, Remy Jourdan added that motorcycles such as Harley Davidsons and cars like Ferraris will be targeted.

“We have nothing against Ferraris or Harley Davidsons, but their owners sometimes like to demonstrate their vehicles’ power and the noise really troubles residents,” he said.


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Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.

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