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Vehicles entering the New Zealand fleet need to meet noise emission requirements at the time of their entry. Once vehicles are in service noise emissions and/or noise control devices may be checked during the warrant of fitness and certificate of fitness process.  The NZ Police can enforce ‘excessive noise’ from vehicles on the road.

  • What can the Transport Agency do about noise from loud motorcycles, loud cars and loud trucks?

    The Transport Agency has limited ability to control noise from individual vehicles on the road. Where heavy vehicles are the cause of the noise the Transport Agency can liaise with trucking industry groups to influence driver behaviour. 

    The Transport Agency can also liaise with the NZ Police to identify areas for potential enforcement of excessive noise rules.

    The warrant of fitness (WoF) and ceriticate of fitness (CoF) processes both allow for checks to confirm that individual vehicles meet applicable noise regulations/requirements.

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  • What can I do to help identify noisy vehicles that are causing disturbance?

    If you are experiencing regular or routine disturbance by loud noise from individual vehicles, documentation of the occurrences can assist the Transport Agency liaise with organisations that might be able to influence driver behaviour - such as industry groups and the NZ Police.  

    Keep a log of date and times when you observe the loud noise over a period of two weeks (ideally longer). In most instances it is not practical to identify individual vehicles (eg by the licence plate) but if you can document information identifying the vehicle (such as company name) this can be helpful with liaison efforts. 

    This information may be used by the Transport Agency for liaison with the trucking industry (where noise from heavy vehicles is of concern) to influence behaviours which might be causing disturbance. 

    This information may also be shared with the NZ Police to highlight community concerns and help them focus enforcement of excessive noise rules (if appropriate).

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  • How is noise from individual vehicles regulated?

    Section 2.7 of the Land Transport Vehicle Equipment Rule sets out noise requirements for vehicles entering service (ie vehicles being imported and/or registered in New Zealand for the first time).  In summary, this rule requires most vehicles entering service be manufactured to a standard complying with the maximum noise levels. If the vehicle has been modified to increase the noise output from the original (complying) exhaust system, then individual testing of the vehicle may be required before it can enter service to demonstrate that the maximum noise levels are not exceeded.

    For in service vehicles (ie vehicles already registered in New Zealand) the Vehicle Equipment Rule requires most light/mid-weight vehicles (eg motorcycles, cars, vans and light goods vehicles) comply with maximum noise levels. This is sometimes confirmed during the warrant of fitness (WoF) inspection, where the vehicle inspector may perform a subjective check on vehicle noise.

    This subjective check does not include noise measurements but relies upon the inspector’s judgement as to whether the vehicle may exceed the maximum noise levels.  If the vehicle fails the WoF check because of a noisy exhaust, the inspector may refer it for an objective noise test. In the objective noise test, the noise levels are measured with a calibrated noise meter and the results compared against the maximum noise levels included in the rule. Vehicles not meeting these requirements may require repair or replacement of noisy exhaust systems before returning to on-road use.

    More on the objective noise test can be found on our Warrant of fitness section.

    The  Vehicle Equipment Rule requirement for heavy vehicles is different from light and mid-weight vehicles. The requirement is that in-service vehicles must not ‘be noticeably and significantly louder than the noise output from the vehicle’s original exhaust system at the time of the vehicle’s manufacture.’ This may be confirmed during the certificate of fitness (CoF) process.

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  • Who enforces 'excessive noise' from loud vehicles on the road?

    The NZ Police are responsible for enforcing the Land Transport (Road User) Rule for excessive noise for on road vehicles.

    The Land Transport (Road User) Rule includes the following provision (rule 7.4) for on road vehicle noise:

    “A driver must not operate a vehicle that creates noise that, having regard to all the circumstances, is excessive.

    In determining whether any noise is excessive, regard may be had, in addition to all other relevant matters, to—

    (a)  the manner of operation of the vehicle:

    (b)  the condition of the vehicle:

    (c)  the time of the day when the noise is created:

    (d)  the locality where the noise is created:

    (e)  the likelihood of annoyance to any person:

    (f)  any relevant standard or specification that applies under the Act.” 

    For light and mid-weight vehicles (ie most cars, vans, motorcycles and light goods vehicles) the police may require that vehicle undergo an ‘objective noise test’ before being used on the road again. In the objective noise test, the noise levels are measured with a calibrated noise meter and the results compared against the maximum noise level limits. Vehicles not meeting these requirements may require repair or replacement of noisy exhaust systems before returning to on-road use.

    More on the objective noise test can be found on our Warrant of fitness section.

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  • How are loud vehicles managed through the WoF/CoF process?

    By law, the noise coming from a vehicle’s exhaust system must be similar to or less than the noise it made when the vehicle was manufactured. Two exceptions are where:

    • the noise the exhaust emits is still well below legal noise limits
    • an ‘objective noise test’ proves the noise doesn’t exceed the legal noise limits.

    During a warrant of fitness (WoF) inspection, the vehicle inspector may perform a subjective check on vehicle noise. This check does not include noise measurements but relies upon the inspector’s judgement as to whether the vehicle may exceed the maximum noise level limits. 
    If the vehicle fails the WoF check because of a noisy exhaust, the inspector may refer it for an objective noise test. In the objective noise test, the noise levels are measured with a calibrated instrument and the results compared against the maximum noise level limits.  Vehicles not meeting these requirements may require repair or replacement of noisy exhaust systems before returning to on-road use.

    More on the objective noise test can be found on our Warrant of fitness section.

    For heavy vehicles the requirement is they must not be noticeably and significantly louder than the noise output from the vehicle’s original exhaust system at the time of the vehicle’s manufacture. This may be confirmed during the certificate of fitness (CoF) process.

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