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Gatchalian wants to ban noisy vehicles.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has proposed to ban cars and motorcycles with modified mufflers or sound boosters, citing the harmful effects of noise pollution to health and the distraction it could cause other motorists on top of the already stressful heavy traffic in metropolitan areas.

Through Senate BIll No. 1195, Gatchalian aims to control the noise on the road through banning vehicles that emit sounds of more than 70 decibels, a noise level within the safety threshold per the World Health Organization (WHO).

Cars and motorbikes with modified mufflers or sound boosters are popular among riders who like to simulate the sound of race vehicles.

'This bill seeks to regulate the use of mufflers, those that are missing, defective, and their modifications that increase the sound emitted by a motor vehicle, contributing to noise pollution, penalizing owners and drivers that contribute to the sound that exacerbate noise pollution to our environment,' said Gatchalian in his bill.

In his proposal, Gatchalian said 'no motor vehicle shall be allowed to be driven or operated without having been properly equipped, at all times, with either a muffler or any noise dissipative device in constant operation and of sufficient capacity to its motor engine to prevent the escape of excessive and disturbing noise.'

Citing a WHO report, Gatchalian said exposure to high levels of noise causes sleep disturbance, annoyance, and communication interference, and could affect a person's performance at work or school and impact social behavior.

He said an Asian Development Bank (ADB) study placed the national standard for daytime outside noise at 60 decibels, and 50 decibels at night time. Tricycles produce tailpipe noise of 97 decibels, way above the standard, said the ADB study.

'Exposure to noise levels at or above 80 decibels has been medically proven to cause permanent hearing loss.This exposure to noise has also been associated with changes in blood pressure, other cardiovascular changes, problems with the digestive system and general fatigue,' he said.

The lawmaker also cited how noisy mufflers could endanger road users.

'Motor vehicles with modified mufflers are very distracting and can cause accidents since they overpower traffic sounds such as automobile horns and traffic enforcer whistles. Further, loud muffler noise agitate drivers as it affects hearing, vision, reaction time and judgment thereby increasing the risk of danger for everyone on the road,' he said.

Under Gatchalian's proposal, all motor vehicles shall undergo noise pollution testing at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) during the yearly vehicle registration, with 70 decibels as the noise limit.

A motorist whose vehicle is found to have exceeded the noise limit will be fined P5,000 upon first offense, P10,000 and a monthlong vehicle impoundment upon the second offense, and P15,000 plus a six-month driver's license suspension in later offenses.

The bill mandates the LTO, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and local public order and safety officers to enforce the measure.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Nov 1, 2016
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