Car (South Africa) - - MAIL -

Mod­ern mo­tor ve­hi­cles are re­quired to com­ply with many strin­gent reg­u­la­tions re­gard­ing their use and im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment. This in­cludes reg­u­la­tions that limit the amount of noise they emit. One of the wel­come ef­fects of this is that the new gen­er­a­tion of trucks are re­mark­ably quiet in op­er­a­tion, mak­ing cities far more pleas­ant places to live in than they used to be, es­pe­cially for pedes­tri­ans.

How­ever, all of this ef­fort and ex­pense is nulli ed by the fact that ve­hi­cles are not lim­ited to the type of au­dio sys­tems that may be in­stalled. We are sur­rounded by ve­hi­cles that have been equipped with loud­speak­ers that would put those used in soc­cer sta­di­ums to shame. Quite apart from the fact that many peo­ple re­ally do not share the same mu­si­cal taste as the driv­ers of these ve­hi­cles, surely there is no way that any­one inside the ve­hi­cle can pos­si­bly be in a po­si­tion to drive safely?

We know that the use of a mo­bile tele­phone while driv­ing is a dis­trac­tion and that the use of the on­board in­fo­tain­ment screens rep­re­sents a con­sid­er­able risk, but surely these health-en­dan­ger­ing sound lev­els are even more of a dis­trac­tion? How would the driver of such a ve­hi­cle hear the siren of an emer­gency ve­hi­cle? Or any audible warn­ing sig­nal em­ployed by his/her own ve­hi­cle? What about the me­chan­i­cal sounds made by a ve­hi­cle that has a at tyre or any num­ber of other symp­toms?

Are there no traf c reg­u­la­tions in this coun­try that would out­law such in­stal­la­tions, or the use thereof? I know that many lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have by-laws in place that limit noise lev­els, but I have never heard of them be­ing po­liced with re­gard to the au­dio out­put of ve­hi­cles … maybe some­one else has? MICHAEL HINDON Porter­ville

[But what hap­pens when your jam comes on? Jok­ing aside, I hear you, Michael. It can be an­noy­ing and pose a risk – edi­tor.]

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