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Objective Noise Test a Step Closer

20 April 2006

Objective Noise Test a Step Closer

Work to introduce an objective noise test to combat noisy vehicles was nearing completion Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven said today.

“Officials have completed a workable test methodology for the objective noise test, based on the international ISO 5130 tailpipe noise test which has been tailored specifically for New Zealand conditions and the vehicle fleet,” said Mr Duynhoven.

Test providers have also been identified and transport officials are working with this group to finalise test sites, training and support for testing officers.

Land Transport NZ has put out a tender seeking proposals from suppliers of noise measuring equipment suitable for the tailpipe test. The special purpose noise equipment will measure exhaust noise using a microphone placed 0.5 metres away from the tailpipe of the vehicle.

“Once the tender is complete, the rollout of the objective noise test will proceed. In the meantime, my officials will continue to work with the test providers to prepare for the launch of the objective noise test,” Mr Duynhoven said.

A gazette notice (under regulation 29(7) of the Traffic Regulations 1976) to provide for an objective noise test for measuring exhaust noise levels of vehicles, will be issued by the Director of Land Transport NZ a month before the objective noise test goes live.

“To further reinforce objective noise testing and allow for the ongoing review of maximum allowed noise limits, my officials are progressing an amendment to the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Equipment 2004. I expect the proposed amendment will be released for public consultation by the end of this year.

“The government is committed to taking action to address noisy vehicles. We will continue to work with NZ Police and vehicle testers to ensure that this problem is attacked from all sides – both on the roadside and at vehicle compliance via WoF/CoF and ‘Entry’ (vehicles first being registered in NZ),” said Minister Duynhoven today.


Questions and Answers

1. What vehicle noise legislation is in place now?

Currently, section 7.4 of the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 provides for on-road enforcement of vehicle noise. Under this Rule, a Police officer can issue an instant $250 infringement offence notice carrying 10 demerit points if a person operates a vehicle that creates noise which, having regard to all the circumstances is excessive. Since February 2005 this has included noise from stereos and “boom boxes”.

In addition to roadside enforcement, all vehicles undergo a subjective noise test during warrant and certificate of fitness (WoF/CoF) checks. Clause 2.7(3) of the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Equipment 2004 (previously, regulation 81 of the Traffic Regulations 1976) states that noise from an exhaust system must not be noticeably and significantly louder than it would have been when the motor vehicle was manufactured with its original exhaust system.

Under section 115(1) of the Land Transport Act 1998, a Police officer can also ‘green sticker’ a vehicle that is seen to breach the noise requirements of the Vehicle Equipment Rule 2004, directing that the vehicle is not to be driven on a road until it has passed a WOF test at an independent testing station.

2. What is an objective noise test?

An objective noise test uses scientific methods to measure noise levels. In this case, the proposed objective noise test would scientifically measure vehicle exhaust noise levels against a pre-determined standard.

3. What needs to be done before testing starts?

Officials have now finalised a test procedure that will produce fair results when used on the types of vehicle in the New Zealand fleet. Land Transport NZ is currently tendering for sound equipment. This sound equipment will be made available to the objective noise test providers identified by Land Transport NZ.

4. What happens if a vehicle fails the objective noise test?

Currently, if a vehicle fails the subjective noise test the vehicle is required to be repaired to make it compliant. The same would apply if a vehicle failed the proposed objective noise test – the vehicle would need to be repaired to ensure it is compliant.

5. Will the current subjective noise test continue?

The proposed objective noise test is anticipated to supplement the subjective noise test currently being used by warrant and certificate of fitness testing agents.

6. How will the objective noise test be monitored for consistency?

Land Transport New Zealand is responsible for auditing and compliance of warrant and certificate of fitness providers and the testing of vehicles entering New Zealand, and has an ongoing programme to ensure that vehicle compliance rules are applied consistently across New Zealand. Any proposed objective noise testing standard would also meet these conditions.


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