The EPA started to implement acoustic camera technology for law enforcement on 1 January 2021. As of the end of June 2021, a total of 45 sets of acoustic camera equipment have been deployed for law enforcement in 17 counties and cities across the country. The target is to raise the number to 100 sets by the end of this year. Over the half year of their use, among the 1,736 cases that were determined to have surely exceeded noise standards, 468 were penalized directly and 493 were notified to undergo inspection. The acoustic camera enforcement has proven to be effective in deterring noisy vehicles, and was welcomed by residents living next to roads, who vie to have acoustic cameras set up on roads near their residences as standard vehicle monitoring equipment.
The EPA stated that acoustic cameras have been effective in deterring noisy vehicles, indicated by a drop in the number of reports of noisy vehicles in some counties and cities. Take for example New Taipei City, which has the highest amount of enforcement equipment installed. Through applications of equipment such as license plate recognition systems, nationally-certified Class 1 noise meters and stationary acoustic camera systems, the New Taipei City environmental bureau directly fined vehicles with noise levels exceeding standards or required them to report in-person later for inspection and verification. According to officials, compared with the 2,674 cases of noisy vehicles reported by the public across New Taipei City in 2020, the number of reports was 1,736 in the same period in 2021, a drop of approximately 35%.
Law enforcement with acoustic camera technology was launched at the beginning of this year. All county and city governments have actively cooperated with the policy in deploying the systems. The EPA convened regular video conferences with all counties and cities to share and discuss their experiences in implementing acoustic camera law enforcement.
Summarizing the characteristics of local law enforcement, six prominent facts were found about acoustic camera law enforcement in the past six months:
1. Most fines issued: The highest number of fines in Taiwan were issued in Taipei City at monitoring points such as the ones on Yangde Boulevard and Fuxing North Road, accounting for 40% (171 fines) of all fines issued.
2. Most installations: New Taipei City, with 14 acoustic cameras installed, was the city with the highest number of installed acoustic camera equipment.
3. Most efficient use: Taoyuan City was the first city to have installed acoustic cameras on roads with two-way lanes for better recording of violators.
4. Most diverse application: Kaohsiung City not only caught motorcycles with noise exceeding standards, but also checked whether they had exhaust tests done, taking care of excessive noise and air pollution prevention at the same time.
5. Strongest deterrence: The number of reported cases in Changhua County dropped 84% compared to the same period last year.
6. Best effectiveness: Hualien County reached zero reported cases for the first time in the first half of this year.
The EPA stressed that to enhance local law enforcement capacity, it had successfully secured funding for forward-looking technology projects last year and is now purchasing equipment for local authorities to enhance their capacity. It is also seeking funding related to public construction projects. If approved in the future, it can be used to further subsidize local environmental bureaus to purchase law enforcement equipment. The target is to have 100 sets of the law enforcement equipment in operation by the end of this year.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, August 2021
- Ministry of Environment