D E C banner
D E C banner


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added a link to a translation service developed by Microsoft Inc., entitled Bing Translator, as a convenience to visitors to the DEC website who speak languages other than English.

Additional information can be found at DEC's Language Assistance Page.

Part 450: Noise From Heavy Motor Vehicles

[page 1 of 1]



§450.1 Scope of the Rules in Parts 450-454

(a) The rules in Parts 450-454 of this Title prescribe procedures for inspection, surveillance and measurement of motor vehicles and combinations of vehicles to determine whether those motor vehicles and combinations of vehicles conform to the sound level limits of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.

(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c) of this section, the rules in Parts 450-454 of this Title apply at any time or under any condition of highway grade, load, acceleration or deceleration.

(c) The rules in Parts 450-454 of this Title do not apply to:

(1) A motor vehicle that has a maximum gross weight of 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg) or less;

(2) A combination of vehicles that has a maximum gross weight of 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg) or less;

(3) The sound generated by a warning device, such as a horn or siren, installed in a motor vehicle, unless such device is intentionally sounded in order to preclude an otherwise valid noise emission measurement;

(4) An authorized emergency vehicle, such as a fire engine, an ambulance, a police van or a rescue van;

(5) Special purpose equipment used for the maintenance and construction of public highways, including but not limited to a snowplow in operation, a motor grader and a bucket loader.

(6) The sound generated by auxiliary equipment which is normally operated only when the motor vehicle on which it is installed is stopped or is operating at a speed of five miles per hour (eight kph) or less, unless such device is intentionally operated at speeds greater than five mph (eight kph) in order to preclude an otherwise valid noise measurement. Examples of that type of auxiliary equipment include, but are not limited to, cranes, asphalt spreaders, ditch diggers, liquid or slurry pumps, auxiliary air compressors, welders and trash compactors.

§450.2 Definitions

The following terms used in Parts 450-454 of this Title shall have the meanings indicated:

(a) A-weighted sound level shall mean the sound pressure level measured by the use of an instrument with the metering characteristics and A-weighting frequency response prescribed for sound level meters.

(b) Ambulance. Every motor vehicle designed, appropriately equipped and used for the purpose of carrying sick or injured persons.

(c) Authorized emergency vehicle. Every ambulance, police vehicle, fire vehicle and civil defense emergency vehicle.

(d) Civil defense emergency vehicle. Every communications vehicle and rescue vehicle owned by the State, a county, town, city or village, and operated for civil defense purposes and equipped and marked as a civil defense emergency communications or rescue vehicle in compliance with the rules and regulations of the State Civil Defense Commission.

(e) Combination of vehicles shall mean any device consisting of a motor vehicle and one or more trailers drawn by such motor vehicle.

(f) dB(A) means the standard abbreviation for A-weighted sound level in decibels.

(g) Fast meter response means that the fast dynamic response of the sound level meter shall be used. The fast dynamic response shall comply with the meter dynamic characteristics in paragraph 5.3 of the American National Standards Specification for Sound Level Meters, ANSI S1.4-1971. This publication is available from the American National Standards Institute, Inc., 1430 Broadway, New York, 10018.

(h) Fire vehicle. Every vehicle operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the State, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section 1402 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law or a fire company as defined in section 100 of the General Municipal Law. Any of the following vehicles shall be fire vehicles:

(1) a vehicle operated by officials of the Division of Fire Safety in the Office for Local Government of the Executive Department,

(2) a vehicle ordinarily operated by a chief or assistant chief of a fire department, or a county or deputy county fire coordinator, or county or assistant county fire marshal, or such vehicle when operated in an official capacity by or under the direction of such person, and

(3) a vehicle specifically designed and equipped for fire fighting purposes which is regularly used for fire fighting purposes by a fire fighting unit on property used for industrial, institutional or commercial purposes and which vehicle is owned by the owner or lessee of such property.

(i) Gross weight. The weight of a vehicle without load plus the weight of any load thereon.

(j) Ground cover means any of various low, dense-growing plants, such as ivy, myrtle, low weeds or brush.

(k) Hard test site means any test site having the ground surface covered with concrete, asphalt, packed dirt, gravel or similar reflective material for more than one-half the distance between the microphone target point and the microphone location point.

(l) Maximum gross weight. The weight of the vehicle unladen plus the weight of the maximum load to be carried by such vehicle during the registration period, or the maximum gross weight for which the vehicle is registered, whichever is greater.

(m) Motor vehicle. Every vehicle operated or driven upon a public highway which is propelled by any power other than muscular power, except (a) electrically driven invalid chairs being operated or driven by an invalid, (b) vehicles which run only upon rails or tracks, and (c) snowmobiles as defined in article 47 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.

(n) Open site means an area that is essentially free of large sound-reflecting objects, such as barriers, walls, board fences, signboards, parked vehicles, bridges or buildings.

(o) Relatively flat, when used to describe a noise measurement site, means a site which does not contain significant concave curvatures or slope reversals that may result in the focusing of sound waves toward the microphone location point.

(p) Soft test site means any test site having the ground surface covered with grass, other ground cover, or similar absorptive material for one-half or more of the distance between the microphone target point and the microphone location point.

(q) Sound level means the quantity in decibels measured by a sound level meter satisfying the requirements of American National Standards Specification for Sound Level Meters, S1.4-1971. This publication is available from the American National Standards Institute, Inc., 1430 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10018. Sound level is the frequency-weighted sound pressure level obtained with the standardized dynamic characteristic "fast" or "slow" and weighting A, B or C; unless indicated otherwise, the A-weighting is understood

(r) Sound pressure level shall mean 20 times the logarithm to the base ten of the ratio of the root mean squared pressure of a sound to a reference pressure of 20 micropascals. The unit applied to this measure shall be the decibel (dB).

(s) Traffic railing means any longitudinal highway traffic barrier system installed along the side or median of a highway. For the purpose of this Part, a traffic railing must have at least 35 percent of its vertical height, from the ground surface to the top of the railing, open to free space in order to qualify as an acceptable object within a noise measurement test site. Further, for the purposes of this Part, posts or other discrete supports shall be ignored when ascertaining open free space.

(t) Trailer. Any vehicle not propelled by its own power, drawn on the public highways by a motor vehicle operated thereon, except motorcycle sidecars, vehicles being towed by a nonrigid support and vehicles designed and primarily used for other purposes and only occasionally drawn by such a motor vehicle.

(u) Vehicle. Every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

§450.3 Allowable Noise Levels

Motor vehicle noise emissions, when measured according to the rules of Parts 450-454, shall not exceed the values specified in Table 1 below:

Table 1 Maximum Permissible Sound Level Readings [Decibel (A)] 1, 2
If the distance between the mircrophone location and the microphone target point is Highway operations test Stationary tests
Soft site Hard site
35 mi/h or less Above 35 mi/h 35 mi/h or less Above 35 mi/h Soft site Hard site
35 ft. (10.7 m) or more but less than 39 ft. (11.9 m) 89 93 91 95 89 91
39 ft. (11.9 m) or more but less than 43 ft. (13.1 m) 88 92 90 94 88 90
43 ft. (13.1 m) or more but less than 48 ft. (11.6 m) 87 91 89 93 87 89
48 ft. (14.6 m) or more but less than 58 ft. (17.1 m) 86 90 88 92 86 88
58 ft. (17.1 m) or more but less than 70 ft. (21.3 m) 85 89 87 91 85 87
70 ft. (21.3 m) or more but less than 83 ft. (25.3 m) 84 88 86 90 84 86

1The speeds shown refer to measurements taken at sites having speed limits as indicated. These speed limits do not necessarily have to be posted.

2Table 1 takes into account both the distance correction factors contained in § 454.2 of this Title and the ground surface correction factors contained in § 454.3 of this Title and may be used in lieu of applying these correction factors to the measured sound level.

§450.4 Measurement Tolerances

(a) Measurement tolerances will be allowed to take into account the effects of the following factors:

(1) The consensus standard practice of reporting field sound level measurements to the nearest whole decibel.

(2) Variations resulting from commercial instrument tolerances.

(3) Variations resulting from the topography of the noise measurement site.

(4) Variations resulting from atmospheric conditions such as wind, ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure.

(5) Variations resulting from reflected sound from small objects allowed within the test site.

(6) The interpretation of the effects of the above-cited factors by enforcement personnel.

(b) Measurement tolerances shall not exceed two decibels for a given measurement.

§450.5 Acoustical Equipment Operators

(a) Sound level measurements shall be taken only by personnel trained and experienced in the current techniques and principles of sound measurement and in the selection and operation of sound measuring equipment and instrumentation.

(b) Satisfactory completion within the last two years of a training course for acoustical equipment operators conducted by the Department of Environmental Conservation, or an equivalent training course approved by the department, shall be prima facie proof that enforcement personnel satisfy the requirements of this section.