Aloha Representative Mark Hashem,
Thank you for introducing HB 225. Please consider using the 2012 Plainly Audible Noise Ordinance Standard language, where the validity of the standards for amplified sound sources have been upheld in Courts across the United States.
Here are the reasons I support House Bill 225, including from personal experience, scientific reasoning, and legal obligation by the State to protect the current and future residents of Hawaii from the threat of noise-induced physical and mental harm:
Personal Experience with Motorcycle/bike/vehicle and Boom Car Noise:
1) The engine revving, acceleration, and standby at stoplight noises are disturbing and often irritating and physically painful to my ears, at the beach, walking in residential and downtown streets, eating at a restaurant, at my office, and in my home. Even during hikes, the noise of these excessively loud motorcyles/bikes/vehicles can be heard.
2) These excessively loud motorcycles/bikes/vehicles and boom cars make me anxious and stressed. I find it challenging to relax from a long day of work, read a book, watch tv, when at home due to loud motorcycles/bikes/vehicles and boom cars driving by. Although fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, trash trucks, busses, and construction operations may produce noises just as loud, they are AT LEAST serving the wider community, not just themselves.
3) My closed windows do not stop the obnoxious bike and vehicle noises from penetrating the walls, into my home. Due to noises produced by these modified motorcyles/bikes/vehicles and boom cars driving by, I've had to rely on the air conditioner or multiple fans for air flow and pink noise, and as a result, I've had to pay 5 times more in electricity bills in the past. Additionally, air conditioning is bad for the environment as it increases carbon emissions into our atmosphere.
4) I've been woken up frequently at night to the sounds of loud motorcyles/bikes/vehicles and boom cars driving on XXXX Ave. even with earplugs. After a disturbing nights sleep from noise, my performance and motivation at work becomes reduced. If I've been deprived multiple days of undisrupted sleep, my overall quality of life suffers greatly for many days after. I've been asked, "why I don't just move". I did already move once due to the noise when I lived on xxxx Street, but why should I continue to move for the convenience of these disrespecting motorcycle/bike/vehicle operators who benefit only themselves and go wherever they please? What about the residents that have lived in or owned homes on these streets that were quiet for decades and now are asked to move to accommodate someone's obnoxious hobby? Furthermore, "moving" isn't a simple task and it requires time to search for a new home, it requires the possession of enough money to live in a safe and quiet environment (which is usually exponentially more expensive), it requires finding the time to orchestrate the move, it requires having good credit, etc.
5) I have not found any evidence that proves loud motorcycle/bikes prevent accidents. While driving with my windows up, I have never noticed a loud motorcycle until he has driven right next to me or slightly passed me on my left.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented adverse health effects of noise pollution on humans. The following statements describe those effects and were taken from Noise Pollution: A Modern Plague and the WHO Guideline on Community Noise by Goines and Hagler (2007) and Berglund et al. (1995), respectively, except for any phrases inserted in brackets [ ] by me to drive a point. Furthermore, superscript numbers are citations associated with references that can be accessed at the end of Goines and Hagler's report.
1) Interference with Spoken Communication: Noise pollution interferes with the ability to comprehend normal speech and may lead to a number of personal disabilities, handicaps, and behavioral changes. These include problems with concentration, fatigue, uncertainty, lack of self confidence, irritation, misunderstandings, decreased working capacity, disturbed interpersonal relationships, and stress reactions. Some of these effects may lead to increased accidents, disruption of communication in the classroom, and impaired academic performance. Particularly vulnerable groups include children, the elderly, and those not familiar with the spoken language.
2) Sleep Disturbances: When sleep disruption becomes chronic, the results are mood changes, decrements in performance, and other long-term effects on health and well-being. 3 For intermittent noise, the probability of being awakened increases with the number of noise events per night.1 Noise during sleep causes increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, increased pulse amplitude, vasoconstriction, changes in respiration, cardiac arrhythmias, and increased body movement.
Secondary effects (so-called after effects) measured the following day include fatigue, depressed mood and well-being, and decreased performance. 30 Decreased alertness and disrupted circadian rhythms, which lead to accidents, injuries, and death, have also been attributed to lack of sleep. 31 Long-term psychosocial effects have been related to nocturnal noise. Noise annoyance during the night increases total noise annoyance for the following 24 hours. Low frequency sound [20-60Hz, e.g.: Harley Davidsons and sub-bass in boom cars] are more disturbing, even at very low sound pressure levels; these low frequency components appear to have a significant detrimental effect on health. 32
3) Cardiovascular Disturbances: Noise pollution has both temporary and permanent effects on humans (and other mammals) by way of the endocrine and autonomic nervous systems. The studies that have been done on the effects of environmental noise have shown an association between noise exposure and subsequent cardiovascular disease. 1, 2, 6, 33-36 Even though the increased risk for noise-induced cardiovascular disease may be small, it assumes public health importance because both the number of people at risk and the noise to which they are exposed continue to increase. 1, 2 Children are at risk as well. Children who live in noisy environments have been shown to have elevated blood pressures and elevated levels of stress-induced hormones. 2, 11, 18
4) Disturbances in Mental Health: Noise pollution may cause or contribute to the following adverse effects: anxiety, stress, nervousness, nausea, headache, emotional instability, argumentativeness, sexual impotence, changes in mood, increase in social conflicts, neurosis, hysteria, and psychosis. Population studies have suggested associations between noise and mental-health indicators, such as rating of well-being, symptom profiles, the use of psychoactive drugs and sleeping pills, and mental-hospital admission rates. Noise levels above 80 dB are associated with both an increase in aggressive behavior and a decrease in behavior helpful to others. 38-40
5) Impaired Task Performance: Noise pollution impairs task performance at school and at work, increases errors, and decreases motivation. 11, 41 Reading attention, problem solving, and memory are most strongly affected by noise. Two types of memory deficits have been identified under experimental conditions: recall of subject content and recall of incidental details. Both are adversely influenced by noise. Deficits in performance can lead to errors and accidents, both of which have health and economic consequences.1
Cognitive development is impaired when homes or schools are near sources of noise such as highways and airports. 4, 11 Noise affects learning, reading, problem solving, motivation, school performance and social and emotional development. 3, 5, 10, 18, 42 These findings suggest that more attention needs to be paid to the effects of noise on the ability of children to learn and on the nature of the learning environment, both in school and at home. Moreover, there is concern that high and continuous environmental noise may contribute to feelings of helplessness in children. 11, 18
6) Negative Social Behavior and Annoyance Reactions: Annoyance increases significantly when noise is accompanied by vibration or by low frequency components. 32 The term annoyance does not begin to cover the wide range of negative reactions associated with noise pollution; these include anger, disappointment, dissatisfaction, withdrawal, helplessness, depression, anxiety, distraction, agitation, or exhaustion. Lack of perceived control over the noise intensifies these effects [like sitting at home and listening to obnoxious motorcycle gangs drive by]. 1, 10
Social and behavioral effects of noise exposure are complex, subtle, and indirect. These effects include changes in everyday behavior (e.g., closing windows and doors to eliminate outside noises; avoiding the use of balconies, patios and yards; and turning up the volume of radios and television sets); changes in social behavior (e.g., aggressiveness, unfriendliness, non-participation, or disengagement); and changes in social indicators (e.g., residential mobility, hospital admissions, drug consumption, and accident rates); and changes in mood (increased reports of depression).1 Greater annoyance has been observed when noise is of low frequency, is accompanied by vibrations that contain low-frequency components, or when it contains impulses such as the noise of gun shots. 1, 32 Annoyance is greater when noise progressively increases rather than remaining constant [e.g.: loud motorcycles/bikes/vehicles slowly driving up your street].
Legal Obligation by the State of Hawaii:
Domestic tranquility is one of the six guarantees in the United States Constitution, a guarantee that is echoed in some form or other in every state Constitution. In 1972, the Noise Control Act was passed by Congress, declaring, “…it is the policy of the United States to promote an environment for all Americans free from noise that jeopardizes health and welfare.” In 1974, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that nearly 100 million Americans lived in areas where the daily average noise levels exceeded those identified as being safe. 17
Despite the evidence about the many medical, social, and economic effects of noise, as a society, we continue to suffer from the same inertia, the same reluctance to change,and the same denial of the obvious that the anti-tobacco lobby faced a couple of decades ago. This inertia and denial are similar to those that delayed appropriate action on lead, mercury, and asbestos. Now we seem unable to make the connection between noise and disease, despite the evidence, and despite the fact, which we all recognize, that our cities are becoming increasingly more polluted with noise. Noise makers and the businesses that support them are as reluctant as smokers to give up their bad habits. Legislators at all levels should protect us from noise pollution the same way they protected us from tobacco smoke and other forms of pollution. It is clear that laws can change behaviors in ways that benefit society as a whole.
Based on my personal experience, scientific evidence, and legal obligation by the State of Hawaii to protect us from harm, I support HB 225. Excessively loud motorcycles/bikes/vehicles and boom cars on Oahu produce noise levels equivalent to trains, aircrafts, gunshots that are harmful to the drivers themselves and to innocent bystanders including children. Unlike our eyes, which we can shut to exclude unwanted visual input, we cannot voluntarily shut our ears to exclude unwanted auditory input. Our hearing mechanisms are always “on” even when we are asleep.
Former U.S. Surgeon General William H. Stewart said in 1978, “Calling noise a nuisance is like calling smog an inconvenience. Noise must be considered a hazard to the health of people everywhere.”
Mahalo for your time and please call or email with any questions.
QUIETER O'AHU RESPONSE:
This is exceptional commentary that this visitor to our website submitted to Representative Hashem. On their comments at paragraph 5) I have not found any evidence that proves loud motorcycle/bikes prevent accidents, Quieter O'ahu can point to the following comments by reputable motorcycle communities that strongly dispute the claim that loudness improves safety. These on-the-record views can be found at:
And even the President and CEO of Harley Davidson says in a very knowledgeable article that riders have gone too far in making their motorcycles generate more noise that they were manufactured to produce. His article can be found at:
Mahalo for your submission of the compelling input to Representative Hashem!