Edmonton plans to crack down on noisy vehicles with a $1,000 fine

The council is expected to vote on the proposed constitutional amendment at a meeting on Wednesday.  (Nathan Gross/CBC - photo credit)

The council is expected to vote on the proposed constitutional amendment at a meeting on Wednesday. (Nathan Gross/CBC – photo credit)

The city of Edmonton is attempting to discourage motorists from making excessive vehicle noise with a potential $1,000 fine for violating their traffic rules.

City Council is expected to vote on the proposed bylaw change at its meeting on Wednesday.

The change would make it a criminal offense for drivers of all vehicle types to make excessive noise, and the fine would be doubled for a subsequent offence.

Currently, the city’s Community Standards Bylaw makes noise a criminal offense only for motorcyclists whose machine exceeds 92 decibels.

Currently, law enforcement officials can issue fines to car and truck drivers under the provincial Traffic Safety Act.

Current fines in municipal bylaws and provincial statutes range from $162 to $250.

Commercial aircraft generate noise levels of over 120 decibels during take-off. A telephone ringing produces around 80 decibels and a jackhammer produces around 100. Road traffic noise is between 70 and 80 decibels at a distance of 15 meters from the motorway.

Anne Stevenson, councilwoman for the downtown O-day’min borough, lives near the High Level Bridge, where she hears the constant rumble of vehicles in the warmer months.

“It’s incredibly disturbing,” she said. “I think Edmonton residents have said very loud and clear that this is a problem, an area of ​​concern.”

Complaints are coming in from across the city via the 311 line, emails and the city’s website, she said in an interview Monday.

The statute change would focus on people making unnecessary and intentional vehicle noise, usually through modifications to their vehicles or to their mufflers.

“I think the severity of the fine reflects the really significant impact it’s having on its neighbors,” Stevenson said. “So if you operate your vehicle the way it was designed for operation, you have no reason to be afraid.”

Unable to sleep, increased stress

The city said it received 1,028 complaints in 2021 — in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evangeline Rand, who lives downtown, thinks $1,000 isn’t enough.

“I would honestly do it even more because the noise is unbearable,” Rand told CBC News Monday. “It’s terrible in the summer, you can hardly sit on your balcony.”

She said it was particularly bad near the State House at 97th Avenue and 108th Street.

“It appears to be a running race for people, bikes and fast cars,” Rand said.

A city report last August shows that people are constantly complaining about inability to sleep, increased stress levels, drivers revving up their engines, and after-hours congregating in neighborhood parks and parking lots.

Along Jasper Avenue, Nathan Cuckow said he believes a tougher fine could work to deter drivers from intentionally making engine noise.

“Something has to happen, people obviously feel like they can do whatever they want,” he said. “Somebody has to do something about it.”

If the bylaw amendment is passed, Stevenson said the city will need to monitor how the change takes effect.

“I think this summer will be a good test of that to see if enforcement severity moves the needle or if we need to look at enforcement frequency again,” she said.

Automated Enforcement

count. Michael Janz started a petition last summer, proposing a much larger fine of $5,000. City councilors later agreed to consider a $1,000 ticket.

Last weekend, Janz emailed voters asking them to show their support for the bylaw change.

“I’ve already heard too much noise for the past week as the street racers return to Whyte Avenue,” Janz wrote.

Janz said he believes the real deterrent will be enforcement, and advocates that the city adopt automated decibel-metering technology that will be used in cities around the world.

A few years ago, the city installed noise monitors, but they were proven to be ineffective. Janz pointed out that the province is reviewing the rules on technology.

“The provincial government has yet to release its update on automated enforcement guidelines, which unfortunately affects our ability to deploy new photoradar technology on noisy vehicles,” he wrote in the email.

Michael Janz

Michael Janz


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