Fabian Demicoli

Sound level of motor vehicles

MCCAA would like to inform interested
stakeholders of the draft proposal on the sound level of motor vehicles. The objective of the proposal is to
ensure a high level of health and environmental protection and to safeguard the
Internal Market for motor vehicles as regards their sound level.

The proposal aims at reducing
environmental noise by introducing a new test method for measuring noise
emissions, by lowering the noise limit values, by including additional sound
emission provisions in the type-approval procedure. It aims also at ensuring
road and occupational safety by introducing requirements regarding the minimum
noise for electric and electric-hybrid vehicles.

This proposal will introduce a new test
method for measuring the noise emissions and change the limit values for the
type-approval of motor vehicles. It will also address for the first time the
issue of the minimum noise level of electric or hybrid electric vehicles.

The draft proposal will repeal
Directive 70/157/EEC on noise emissions of four-wheel motor vehicles and its
subsequent amendments. Compared to the existing act, the draft proposal will
lay down new requirements: new test protocol, new limit values, additional
sound emission provisions and minimum noise for electric and electric-hybrid

On the basis of the results resulting
from tests and research an impact assessment has been prepared with different
policy options for the noise test method and corresponding limit values.
According to the most preferable option the limit values for light and medium
size vehicles will be lowered in two steps of each 2 dB(A) and for heavy
vehicles in a first step of 1 and a second step of 2 dB(A). This will result in
a reduction of the noise impact of about 3 dB(A) for free flowing traffic and
up to 4 dB(A) for intermittent traffic. The reduction of the number of highly
annoyed people will be 25 %.

The cost-benefit ratio for this measure
is estimated to be around 20 times in favour of the noise reduction compared to
no action taken.

– Additional sound emissions

The representativeness of the new test
method for the noise emission during normal traffic conditions is considered
good, but it is less representative for noise emissions under worst case
conditions. Therefore it was necessary to implement Additional Sound Emission
Provisions. They are preventive requirements intended to cover driving conditions
of the vehicle in real traffic outside the type approval driving cycle. These
driving conditions are environmentally relevant and it needs to be ensured that
the sound emission of a vehicle under street driving conditions does not differ
significantly from what can be expected from the type approval test result for
this specific vehicle.

– Minimum noise of electric and
electric-hybrid vehicles:

The increase of hybrid and electric
vehicles on European roads is welcomed because it is serving to significantly
reduce air pollution and traffic noise. But these positive environmental
benefits have produced the unintended consequence of removing a source of
audible signal that is in particular used by blind and low vision people to
inform them of the approach, presence, direction or departure of road vehicles.
A working group on minimum sound levels for silent vehicles has been set up by
UNECE. Taking into account the discussions and the information provided in this
group it is proposed to amend the noise legislation with an Annex harmonising
the performance of 'Approaching Vehicle Audible Systems' if they are fitted to
a vehicle. The fitting of such systems however shall be voluntary and remain an
option under the discretion of the vehicle manufacturers.

There is a general transitory period in
the proposal in order to allow sufficient lead time for vehicle and component
manufacturers and administrations. The proposal provides for simplification of
legislation as Directive 70/157/EEC and its subsequent amendments will be

Within three years following
implementation the Commission shall carry out a detailed study to ascertain
whether the noise limits prove to be appropriate. On the basis of the
conclusions of the study, the Commission may, where appropriate, present
proposals for amendment to this Regulation.

Please direct feedback and queries on
by Friday 5th October.

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