Brussels, Belgium – Vehicles in Europe will be quieter thanks to a proposal by the European Commission. Cars, vans, buses, coaches, and light and heavy trucks will be some 25 per cent quieter after full implementation.

Noise limit values would be lowered in two steps of 2 decibels for passenger cars, vans, buses and coaches, while trucks would have two phases of 1 decibel in the first step, and 2 decibels in the second. The first step would be applied two years after publication of the measure once approved by the member states, and the second one three years later.

The Commission also intends to introduce a new and more reliable test method to measure sound emissions, and has proposed that electric and hybrid vehicles can be fitted optionally with sound-generating devices which would make them safer for pedestrians.

Noise emissions limits have not changed since 1996 despite increasing traffic, the Commission said. The World Health Organization concluded that traffic-related noise may account for one million healthy years of life lost per year in Western Europe.

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