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Noise polluting reversing alarms on heavy goods vehicles

32 Comments 16th October 2014

Amend the "Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) 1986" legislation mandating the operation of an audible warning devices on reversing vehicles.

These audible warning devices do little for safety but create a cacophony of undesirable noise pollution.

Such devices presume an unwitting person will stand clear. However, if they miss the lorry movement and its engine noise they’ll be oblivious to a loud bleeper, won’t they?

Instead, legislate to install high mounted rear facing camera on heavy vehicles with restricted rear vision so the driver can properly see obstructions.

Why does this matter?

Noise pollution matters for quality of life.

Greater safety is to be achieve by a rear facing wide angle camera.

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32 Responses to Noise polluting reversing alarms on heavy goods vehicles

  1. Bill Craft says:

    I live 300 metres from a gravel quarry and the main noise pollution from the site is reversing alarms.
    I would be absolutely delighted if reversing alarms were banned.

  2. Dave says:

    I live opposite a council grit/road maintenance depot, we are subjected to these infuriating alarms at all hours of day and night – with a recent expansion in operations, during winter we scarcely get a full night’s sleep

  3. Peter Morgan says:

    I live near a small industrial park. When the industrial bakery started early shifts with reverse beepers, I asked for their help. They stopped overnight – thank you Village Bakery. A new industrial dairy has just been built alongside. 3.15 am shift starts with compressors roaring, by 7.30 its in full “beeper” swing EVERY morning 7 days a week. I tried polite requests. Now environmental health and planning are involved. EH have promised action – watch this space. If one company can be a good neighbour, so can others. If not complain, get the local council involved, if that fails, start a Press campaign – no one wants bad PR!

    • Mart says:

      I live next door to a refrigeration depot and I have had a constant battle with these people. I did contact environmental health and they were helpful; to a point. The company went quiet when I had the data sheet to fill in which shows they can behave. annoying really

  4. Graham says:

    Wonderful idea, the pointless noise from these lorries is a real blight

  5. Nigel Betteridge says:

    I wholeheartedly agree that reversing alarms are the wrong solution to reversing vehicle hazards. I can regularly hear them some 200m away even with windows closed. Given that this is an urban area, that means many others are subjected to this annoying noise pollution.

  6. Mrs Andrea Corble says:

    we have just bought a cottage which stands on the valley side, at abermule in powys, directly opposite a council road maintenance yard. yesterday we were subjected to the sound of the reversing warning alarm on the tipper truck all day long. the yard is situated right next to the main road and the level of the alarm is very loud in order to compensate for the background road noise. it carries clearly through the still air and i have to say that it is a sound that is enough to drive anyone living in the vicinity slightly mad. we will have to sell our house if nothing is done about this noise pollution as i can’t cope with living with it.

  7. Marvin Marshall says:

    Restrictions are already in place for unsociable hours. Please be very careful about how you word this. I agree that further restrictions can be placed upon these bleepers in depots where only authorised adults are allowed to operate; however, their complete banning would be unreasonable.

    When children or the visually impaired are around, the audio warning system is especially valuable. Particularly in tight city areas or school areas. I do however think that the standard bleeping sound is outdated and could be more effective.

    I favour the newer audio warning of “*Beep* Stand Well Clear; Vehicle Reversing” as this informs children to stand clear. I have seen this directly influence children’s actions when they hear a bus sound this alarm.
    Of cause, one problem is the language barrier.

    Please also consider that when trailers or large vehicles involved, visibility for the driver is of cause reduced. Without having some kind of warning, I can see many situations where a driver may unexpectedly reverse into the path of an unsuspecting person or vehicle.

    Cameras may help but are not the answer, they do not offer enough observation for a driver to be able to rely on. Blind spots are an inherent hazard of large vehicles, and always will be. The key is being observant, taking things slowly, and warning people as best as possible.

    Can I also take this opportunity to express a situation which happened to me, and which [to me] emphasises the need for audio warning systems on vehicles.

    As I prepared to reverse out of a car parking space, I repeatedly checked all three mirrors and my side blind spots (this was in a Fiat Punto). And having assessed that I was clear to reverse, I slowly started my manoeuvre. I was instantly greeted by a shout for me to stop from a parent. Had I had been going any quicker I would have reversed the vehicle into a small child.

    What had happened… Towards the end of my checks, between me looking from one mirror to the other, the child had walked past the car, and I of cause could not see the child in the rear view mirror as they were too small. It was a case of bad timing, which could not be helped – but the child did not know that I was reversing, and did not know to look out for an engine noise or reverse light.
    **A point on engine noises; sometimes you cannot hear an engine noise when the engine is at the front (remember that the engine and trailer are separate)**

    I spoke to the parents afterwards, no harm was done, but I let them know that for the future they should walk with their child when walking past parked cars to help prevent a similar situation. The adult’s height [so they could be seen in the mirror] and increased awareness would have prevented the issue.

    I would actually advocate the fitting of audio warning systems to all vehicles; particularly considering the lack of skill which I often see on the roads!

    • annoyed says:

      People like you make life miserable for the rest of us Marvin

    • what ignorance says:

      Marvin how about you wear a beeper on your neck every time you drive a car. Don’t put it in the back where you can’t hear it. Have a taste of your own medicine.

    • darell says:

      your a idiot and like said before you make life for everyone else harder.

    • Phil Evans says:

      Reversing OUT of a drive or onto a main road is illegal. If you have an accident then YOU are liable

    • Deafened by unnecessary beeping says:

      You are a total moron. These things should be banned.

    • Anon says:

      If the driver had a camera there wouldn’t be any need. People still ignore bleeps! It’s down to the driver! That and maybe some common sense. I cannot sleep!! Or enjoy my home. You have no idea!!

  8. Jalopy says:

    Sorry folks, but reversing alarms are not required by the C&U Regulations. They are fitted on a voluntary basis. The HSE does recommend that they are fitted to prevent accidents while reversing.

    Reg 99 does seem to prevent their use on a “restricted road” between 23:30 and 0700. I do not know what a restricted road is, but I gues wee would call it the public road.

    • Sleep deprived says:

      What is reg 99 and where can I get a copy as I am plagued by a newly built distribution centre

  9. Peter Richardson says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. They are a pestilential nuisance. Any useful purpose they may serve is heavily outweighed by the nuisance and annoyance they cause, especially when used on vehicles that operate on an enclosed site in the middle of a residential area where their penetrating noise can be heard within a radius of at least 600 yards.

  10. Stuart says:

    I am living 50yds from a building site and this constant beeping for the last six months has damaged the quality of my life!
    This just can not be right! Improved site safety regulations and better awareness training for drivers must save more lives than this ‘GET OUT OF MY WAY’ beeping.
    My car is equipped with reversing sensors – why can’t these be fitted and sound an alarm if anything is in the vicinity ( in the cab and outside!!)

  11. Clara Massa says:

    The alarms are illegal according to the guidelines in Health & Safety – all reversing should be factored out as much as possible, and site designs should ensure reversing is not needed.
    I’ve pointed this out hundreds of times to various officials and to Glasgow Shitty Council, who allowed constant alarms near my property – when it was obvious the workers were deliberately moving bricks back & forth just to kill time, and were unable to drive their vehicles correctly. They used my complaints about it to ban me from their noise team services. Due to such things I was forced to move property – and here at Kelvindale railway area they have for months had constant reversing / motion alarms coming from an unknown location. It has ruined my life even more of course, I cannot use my property for anything. And that is atop other also blatantly illegal things stopping me having a normal place to live.
    SEPA guidelines also say the alarms should be directional so they do not broadcast outside the range of where the vehicle is reversing or work is being done. In London the government seem to have recognised it is a very big problem – even if ONE alarm wakes someone up ONCE during the day. In Glasgow they broadcast it all day long. In Greenock they often do same.
    The supermarkets have lorries and vans with proper ‘shhh’ alarms on them so there’s no excuses for not using those types on anything else they have motion / reversing alarms on.
    At the end of the day, the alarms would never be used by anyone sane or anyone with any awareness. It’s just pure common sense not to have something that sounds like that. It’s no different to a vehicle or house alarms going off constantly – and they don’t help with safety as lots of people admit to ‘tuning them out’ ie ignoring them because they are bothering them. When it comes to worker safety it can’t be any help to them either, as the alarms are going off constantly – so what is the difference between ‘safe’ and ‘danger’ then.
    If you are that stupid you need an alarm to remind you what work you are doing, then you are not intelligent enough to be working with heavy machinery in the first place.
    It’s the usual, it is deliberate purposeful abuse. They do it on purpose and make lies up that they have to do it – & when you prove them wrong they bully you and ruin your life even more. And these idiots wonder why terrorists want to bomb their sick culture out of existence, when they can’t even do something as simple and easy and not have extremely harmful & completely unnecessary noise pollution. It’s the usual satanic child-molester conspiracy that does these things, and stops anything being done to stop them – let it continue, same way they all knowingly let the whole satanist cult things go on, and they say nothing about it until it’s way too late. They cause suffering as part of their satanic beliefs, it’s never about stopping anyone being backed over by a truck etc. They know it’s some retarded moonchild satan spawn sounding the alarms, and they just let them keep pressing that button. Plus the workers involved in it are just part of those cults, since they can easily get together and ensure they alarms are turned off and not used. Instead they act like it’s normal for things like that to exist, when nobody normal would agree with them.

  12. Kitty says:

    Use white noise alarms so only people in danger of being reversed over hear them. Make it law.

  13. Alan says:

    I have recently received a copy of this gov you re noise pollution alarms anomasly by someone who has a grudge against me, do you not think that these alarms may stop people who are engrossed in their phones or other unsociable people from being hurt, I think that this funny as we live near an old quarry soon to be re developed, my reversing alarm was fitted to my van when it belongsed to elf, one extra point how about all the vans that are fitted with them that belong to the leading super markets are you going to take it up with these companies

  14. Alan says:

    Re my comment it needs editing as where it said elf should be edf

  15. John Tarpey says:

    The use of white noise alarms is a cheap sensible solution. I would make these mandatory in all environments where vehicles are constantly reversing in a set pattern.

  16. John says:

    Excellent idea. I live in a tiny hamlet of fifteen houses and suffer the constant sound of these bleepers from two farms from 6am till dark.

  17. brian white says:

    I presume no law has been passed to ban these annoying alarms since there’s comments going back to 2012.
    They really are a disgrace, council, bin men, delivery and construction vehicles all using them and I think it’s unneccessary with the idea of a video rear camera being the best idea. So if someone gets knocked over the council can turn round and say it’s not our fault you should of heard us.

  18. Mark says:

    You’re the one reversing, YOU look where you’re going – don’t expect ME to have get out of your way. One can only assume some manufacturer of these devices with a vested interest in selling as many as possible lobbied the government to make them mandatory. Idiocy.


    These “Reversing Alarms” are THE ONE THING which has made me lose almost COMPLETE belief in society and mankind as a whole.

    It is absolutely unexplainable to me how a law that arguably has NO measurable benefit, but on the other hand makes MILLIONS OF SQUARE KILOMETERS OF LAND UNINHABITABLE, can stand for years or decades without anyone taking it down or citizens violently protesting to demand its removal.

    Literally, this idiotic alarm must be HUNDREDS OF TIMES LOUDER than the actual ENGINE NOISE which is ALREADY PRETTY LOUD!

    For example, I live several MILES from a quarry here and while I obviously don’t hear the trucks etc. AT ALL, what I CONSTANTLY HEAR is these RIDICULOUS ALARMS. They are even MORE ridiculous in such a situation because those vehicles are reversing CONSTANTLY, EVERY WORKER ON THE PREMISES KNOWS that they are reversing constantly, and that they are in a DANGER ZONE.

    By CONSTANTLY SOUNDING ALARMS (which get eliminated by the brain for that very reason after a short period of time, while still destroying your eardrums), the ONLY THING that is achieved is making an area of several SQUARE MILES UNINHABITABLE!

    Why don’t business owners just CUT THE DAMN WIRES!?

  20. Mo Sultan says:

    Thanks for raising this important issue,
    The Reverse Alarm first invented in 1963 when CCTV was not an economic solution.
    We are in the age of autonomous vehicles and wide range of technologies are available to cover the blind points not to mention cheap cameras.
    Using reverse alarm is just an economic choice not a necessity any more and should be banned entirely for the sake of people and the drivers.
    A vehicle driver should be the sole responsible for driving a car backward, by using reasonable monitoring devices, as he is sole responsible for driving it forward.
    It is unbelievable that many children living more than 100 meters away from a reversing vehicle should be disturbed simply because they want to reduce their costs !
    Just Ban it and the industry would provide reasonable solutions.

  21. Julie forde says:

    I am currently on the 19th floor of a flat in Salford..alot of construction going on..the only thing driving me mad Id the constant beep beep beep beep..I think from the site building town houses

  22. Julie forde says:

    I am currently living on the 19th floor of a block of flats in Salford.UK. there is slot of construction which is fine..the only blight is the constant beep beep beep from a site building town houses.. totally spoiling my quality of life.. can’t sit on the balcony or have windows open…I work shifts do it is s nightmare trying to sleep in the day

  23. Josh says:

    I’m in central London and over the last 3 years there have been 4 construction sites around me working sometimes till 1am and starting at 6am with reversing trucks unloading. The reversing vehicles in particular mean you can’t be at home in the day as it beeps all day long from sometimes two vehicles at the same time. The have a Manatoo which drives up and down the road. I’ve not really slept much in all this time as I work late at night. Local council has been slow to react and only work 9-5 so can’t deal with noise complaints out of this time unless it’s a party a weekend night.

    If the reversing sensors were replaced with white noise it would make life a lot easier.

    Many people in the area already moved out and new people aren’t moving in due to the noise.

  24. Cormac says:

    Great idea! I’m currently going mad. It’s constant, it’s giving me a post traumatic disorder. Please make it happen!!

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