'Challenging' to install noise-measuring instruments to detect illegal vehicle modifications: Amy Khor
In 2022, the authorities received 420 complaints about speeding and about 3,600 reports on illegal modifications.
SINGAPORE: The Government has no plans to install noise-measuring instruments to detect illegal vehicle modifications because it is “quite challenging” to do so, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor in Parliament on Wednesday (Mar 1).
Last year, the traffic police received about 420 complaints about speeding, while the Land Transport Authority (LTA) received about 3,600 reports on illegal modifications, she added.
Dr Khor was responding to a parliamentary question filed by Member of Parliament Lim Wee Kiak (PAP-Sembawang) on how much feedback LTA has received from residents in the past year about speeding vehicles with modified engines.
Dr Lim also asked how long it takes for LTA to investigate and implement measures to address the issue, and whether traffic police cameras in the area will be equipped to capture footage related to the problem.
Dr Khor said that LTA conducts onsite checks on vehicles reported to have been illegally modified, either at the reported location or at the owner’s registered address.
Vehicles assessed to be illegally modified would have to be inspected at authorised inspection centres, she added.
The owners will be charged under the Road Traffic Act and, if convicted, can be jailed for up to three months or fined up to S$5,000, or both.
Dr Khor said that investigations typically take about eight weeks, or longer for more complex cases.
Meanwhile, traffic police officers use cameras for enforcement against speeding. If patrol officers detect a speeding vehicle with suspected illegal modifications, they will refer the case to LTA for further investigation, she added.
Dr Lim then asked if the authorities can use technology such as noise detection cameras, which have been deployed in the United Kingdom as well as New York, to detect such vehicles.
He added: “My residents complain a lot about vehicular noise, especially along Woodlands Avenue 10 because at night, it is usually very quiet and there will be (the) occasional vehicle that is very loud.”
He also noted that by the time a report is lodged and the authorities arrive, the vehicle is gone, especially when it happens in the middle of the night.
In response, Dr Khor said that loud vehicle noise may not simply stem from illegal modifications or speeding, but from vehicle design, the way a motorist drives or maintenance, among other factors.
“Having said that, we note the concerns of residents and we do work with traffic police as well as NEA (National Environment Agency) to carry out enforcement operations when there is a need,” she added.
Unlike speeding that can be captured visually with a speed camera, it remains challenging to attribute the source of noise to a specific vehicle due to interference from surrounding traffic and other sources, Dr Khor said.
“I think the acoustic cameras … still have limited ability in detecting noise violations from individual vehicles accurately and reliably," she added.
"So we are monitoring developments in technology in this area and, if possible, if useful, we will utilise it with a view to strengthen enforcement but at the moment, there are currently no plans. We are monitoring the technology.”