By Will Kessler
Daily Caller News Foundation
New York City is looking to cut back on street noise by imposing fines on people using a new tool targeting loud vehicles, and the program could be expanding soon, according to the New York Times.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is using cameras that activate when they receive a sound greater than 85 decibels, which is around as loud as a lawn mower, to issue violators a fine ranging from $800 to $2,500, according to the NYT. Currently, seven of the noise cameras are operational throughout the city, with three more being installed by the end of the year, with cameras costing $35,000 each.
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“Whenever you have new technology that is capable of doing these types of things, it’s ripe for abuse. There are legitimate concerns,” Jerome Greco, a lawyer with the Digital Forensics Unit at the Legal Aid Society, told the NYT, saying that the cameras could pose risks if certain safeguards were not kept in place regarding data collection. “But at least as this currently exists, it’s problematic.”
The city has so far issued a total of 218 violations to drivers with vehicles with modified mufflers and 147 violations for excessively honking as of November following the introduction of the new system, according to the NYT. Around 90% of those infractions issued by the city had been held up in administrative hearings.
People living in the city file more than 50,000 noise complaints every year, but only a small number of those are related to noise from vehicles like the noise cameras target, according to the NYT.
The New York City Council plans to vote on a bill Wednesday that would create a citywide program for widespread use of the noise cameras, hoping to install at least five per borough, according to the NYT. The city currently does not share the locations of the cameras to prevent vandalism from critics.
New York City is also looking to charge drivers wanting to travel through the most frequented parts of Manhattan a toll for entry in an effort to combat traffic and smog in the city. The plan could charge drivers up to $23 a day to enter certain portions of the city.
The DEP did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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