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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 2 April 2014

Commission welcomes Parliament vote on decreasing vehicle noise

The European Parliament today voted in favour of a Commission proposal to decrease vehicle noise. Noise limit values will ultimately be decreased by 4 dB(A) for passenger cars, vans, buses and coaches and for trucks by 3 dB(A). Altogether, these measures will reduce vehicle noise nuisance by some 25%. Despite increasing traffic, noise emissions limits for vehicles have not changed since 1996. The limits values will be decreased in 3 steps: The first step will apply two years after publication of the final approval of today's proposal, followed by the second step in 5/7 years and the third step in 10/12 years.

In addition, a new and more representative test method to measure sound emissions will ensure that the sound level of vehicles under street driving conditions does not differ from the type-approval test results. This test method is recognized internationally, making it easier for vehicle manufacturers to export outside the EU.

Finally it is proposed that electric and hybrid electric vehicles be fitted with sound generating devices which would make these cars safer for pedestrians/visually impaired persons.

The World Health Organisation concluded that traffic related noise may account for 1 million healthy years of life lost per year in Western Europe. Hence, reduction of traffic noise is essential to improve the health and quality of life of Europe's citizens.

Today’s deal is the follow up of the proposal made by the Commission on 9 December 2011. Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship said: "Noise emissions due to road traffic, from which our citizens are suffering, will be significantly reduced. I am happy that the deal reached by the Parliament and the Council keeps the overall level of ambition proposed by the Commission while making it easier for European manufacturers to sell cars outside the EU”.

New noise limits measured with a new test method

The proposal on reducing vehicle noise includes passenger cars, vans (light commercial vehicles), buses, light trucks, coaches and heavy trucks. The noise levels of new vehicles will be measured by a new and more representative test method.

To this end, so-called additional sound emission provisions (ASEP) will be included in the test procedure. These are preventive requirements which will ensure that the sound emissions of a vehicle under street driving conditions will not differ significantly from what can be expected from the type-approval test result for this specific vehicle.

'Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems' for electric vehicles

So-called 'Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems' requirements shall ensure that only adequate sound generating devices are used which will also lead to a harmonisation of the applied technology. The fitting as such will be mandatory for all Electric and hybrid electric vehicles after a transitional period of 5 years. This will increase road safety and undoubtedly help avoiding road-accident injuries.

A global benefit

Having the same basic rules throughout the EU makes it easier to buy, sell and use vehicles in any Member State – and ensures equal health, safety and environmental standards across the EU.

With this proposal the current EU rules applicable to noise emissions from vehicles will be updated and further aligned with internationally recognised UN standards. This should enable to improve market access for European car manufacturers in those third countries which are contracting parties to the UNECE Agreement of 1958 and thus boost the competitiveness of European industry.

More information:

Noise emissions of motor vehicles

The European Commission's automotive policy

Contacts :

Carlo Corazza (+32 2 295 17 52) Twitter: @ECspokesCorazza

Sara Tironi (+32 2 299 04 03)

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