November 1, 2016
Chapel Hill: The Missouri Department of Transportation has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet for introducing a “Long Range Acoustical Device,” which is capable of producing an ear-piercing shriek or siren of 153 decibels, which is beyond the threshold of pain and into the territory that causes permanent hearing damage for the driver and any passengers or nearby vehicles.”
The whole concept is totally unnecessary and downright stupid. You can be sure people not intended to be the targets of the “long range acoustical device” will hear the noise it spews out for miles and be assaulted by it.
Missouri Department of Transportation spokesperson Michele Compton explained that “the sound easily penetrates the windshield and well-insulated cab of a car, even overriding the vehicle’s engine sounds and a radio turned up loud enough to tunes at highway speeds.”
The LRAD Corporation, manufacturer of the noise-making device, asserts that it can “broadcast a loud message in a 15 degree arc over a distance of 1.9 miles. The system was developed for the military for use against terrorists and has been used by law enforcement to disperse crowds of protesters.” Another LRAD system “uses a radar gun to trigger the sound blast in the direction of a vehicle exceeding a certain speed.”
Angela Norton, a member of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, commented, “This is insane. Have they even considered what this loud noise assault could do to the wildlife in these areas? It would probably kill most of them in the area of a mile away. If not, they would have permanently damaged hearing and would not survive long. Is that what they want? How crazy is that? This world is getting more insane every day–especially where noise is involved. Incredible!”
Larry Deal, another member of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, noted that “the ‘long range acoustical device’ is intended for crowd control and to be rarely employed, not for warning motorists of highway conditions or for informing them that they are speeding. And even the purpose of crowd control could be better served by other means that don’t expose people to harmful noise levels.”
Deal continued, “We already have effective ways to warn motorists of highway conditions and inform them that they are speeding that don’t cause unnecessary and dangerous noise pollution. How many times have we pointed that out to motorcyclists who invoke the ‘loud pipes saves lives’ canard that motorists rely on sight, not sound, for operating their vehicle safely? They need to see, not hear, other vehicles on the road. How may blind people do you suppose are issued drivers licenses? Aren’t applicants for drivers licenses required to pass a vision test?”
The whole concept of using the “long range acoustical device” on public highways as a highway conditions warning device is totally unnecessary and downright stupid. It contributes to the growing cacophony of unnecessary noise in American life.
Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a national citizens’ organization opposed to excessive noise. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the “boom box on a bus,” remote keyless entry systems, and the motorcycle noisemaker bicycle horn.