The EPA started implementing acoustic cameras for law enforcement on New Year's Day, 2021, and as of the end of January 2022, 86 sets of equipment had been installed. During that period, there were 1,216 cases where fines were issued to vehicles determined to have clearly exceeded the noise limit during use, and 5,114 cases were notified for inspection. Acoustic cameras have been effective in curbing noisy vehicles, and were welcomed by roadside residents. The policy satisfaction rate was nearly 90%.
Both the EPA and local governments have been receiving letters from the public every month requesting the installation of acoustic cameras in hopes that they can be included as standard monitoring equipment on the roads near their residence. In response to the requests, the EPA proposed integrated mid- to long-term plans to install 306 sets of the equipment across Taiwan by 2027 with as much as NT$100 million in subsidies from the central government.
Different control standards are set for different speed limits. The noise control standard is set at 86 decibels on road sections with a speed limit of 50 km/h or less and 90 decibels on road sections with a speed limit of 50 to 70 km/h. The EPA stated that not only noisy vehicles were deterred by acoustic cameras, illegally modified or improperly driven vehicles could also be reported and notified for inspection.
The EPA stated that since the launch of technological law enforcement, local governments have been actively following the policy to install and use acoustic cameras. The EPA periodically invites local governments to share and review their experience to continuously improve their law-enforcement skills with acoustic cameras. Such efforts resulted in 1,216 reports nationwide. There were also a total of 30 appeals, of which 60% were rejected and only two of them succeeded in revocation. This shows that the technological law enforcement in the past year was effective to deter noisy vehicles.
At present, 20 counties and cities in Taiwan have launched technological law enforcement, and planning is underway in Penghu County. The EPA has compiled six features of the local technological law enforcement in the year 2021:
1. Most penalties: New Taipei City, with 19 installations and a total of 353 tickets issued, which accounts for 30% of the total number of penalties issued, ranking first in the country;
2. Most warnings: Taichung City, with a total of 333 acoustic camera warning sign placements, is the city with the widest distribution of warning signs in the country; up to 238 violations were reported through mobile detection.
3. Strongest crackdowns in the mountain route: Tainan City. Vigorous enforcement with acoustic cameras in Provincial Highways 172 and 175 resulted in the reporting of 109 cases, returning peace and quiet to the residents of mountainous regions;
4. Most diversified applications: Miaoli County, aside from apprehending vehicles exceeding the noise limit, conducted inspections on the exhaust of modified vehicles, cracking down on emission pollution at the same time.
5. Strongest deterrence: Taipei City. The number of public complaints in 2021 decreased by 42% compared with that of 2020;
6. Most cases per equipment: In Changhua County, the average number of reports per equipment reached 50, the highest in Taiwan.
The EPA stressed that relevant subsidies from the Forward-Looking Infrastructure Development Program and public construction funding were successfully obtained in 2021, enabling local environmental protection bureaus to purchase equipment for technological law enforcement. Estimated demand was 306 sets by 2027 based on the national overall planning.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, April 2022
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)