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The Car Alarm.

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Mini with car alarmMini with a car alarm.
In New York City, car alarms have become so unpleasant that a bill is being put forward to ban audible car alarms from being used, sold or fitted in the city.

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Can New York really ban noisy car alarms? Roger Harrabin.
A New York Street where the car alarms may be  banned.

Car alarms may be banned in New York streets like this one.
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New York City Council.

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How do you feel when you are settling down to a good night's sleep and a car alarm (noise of car alarm, quite loud) goes off in the street? Do you roll over and ignore it or do you sit up and hope that it will stop shortly? In New York City, many people have had enough and want a ban on all audible car alarms.

Despite the fact that alarms are a nuisance, the police and the city council can’t do anything and so people are reduced to waiting until the car battery goes flat. Even then, they are subjected to a beep every few minutes to warn that the battery is nearly dead. In some situations residents have actually broken into a car just to stop the alarm.

Alarm makers insist their products are useful but decline to fund research into them. Meanwhile, the number of alarms bought remains steady. The main problem is that they are dangerous to the ear if it is subjected to the noise for long periods of time. Also they aren't necessarily effective, as many people do nothing about alarms if they go off  because quite often they are false alarms.

New York City Council allows any member to bring forward a bill and so councillor Eva Moscowitz is proposing to ban all audible alarms in the city. Her bill will be heard by the council's Transportation Committee in May.

But how far could this ban go? Could it affect other cities around the world and what does it mean for other alarms?

Are there any noises that you would like to be banned? Do you think that garden equipment like a hedge trimmer on a peaceful Sunday afternoon should be cut, or a ban imposed on all loud music whatever the time of day? How about loud exhausts on mock sports cars or even the stereos which go "thud, thud, thud"?

We would like to know what you think. Simply email us what you think is Britain’s most annoying noise and we’ll put the results up on this website.

Here is what you have said already:

I've just listened to report on your programme about car alarms. I live on a main road and not only do car alarms go off, if set too sensitively, passing vehicles also set them off and disturb sleep. I also live near the ambulance station! The dry weather also "encourages" the lighting of grass fires which result in, on warm summer days, the fire engine sirens wailing up and down the road chasing fires most of the day!

Yours fully behind a ban on alarms, which from my experience are triggered by non-criminal activity.

From: Keith Franks, Rhondda.



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