Edmonton city council approves $1,000 fine for excessive vehicle noise

Gateway Boulevard and Whyte Avenue in south Edmonton are common areas for excessive vehicle noise and racing.  (Natasha Riebe/CBC - image credit)
Gateway Boulevard and Whyte Avenue in south Edmonton are common areas for excessive vehicle noise and racing. (Natasha Riebe/CBC - image credit)

The City of Edmonton will crack down on drivers making unnecessary noise with their vehicles or motorcycles after city council agreed Friday to give officers the authority to hand out $1,000 fines.

Council voted unanimously to amend the city's Traffic Bylaw, increasing the fine from the current $250 under the Community Standards Bylaw, which only applied to motorcycles.

Coun. Aaron Paquette supports the change, noting that it focuses on people intentionally making noise by modifying their mufflers or gunning their vehicles.

"It disturbs the peace and is not necessary for the functioning of the city," Paquette said.

"Those types of things I think people have said loud and clear, they're just tired of it, and literally tired, when they're woken up at 3 in the morning."

Until the bylaw amendment Friday, the city's bylaw only addressed noise from motorcyclists, when the machines exceeded 92 decibels.

Bylaw officers could also give out fines of $162 to car and truck drivers under the provincial Traffic Safety Act.

The amended bylaw also applies to noise coming from vehicles, like music and honking.

Coun. Erin Rutherford agrees to the changes but cautioned that the tool may not solve the root problem.

"We do not enforce our way out of those issues," she said. "We work our way out of those issues through community building and connection."

Officer discretion 

The amended bylaw gives officers a case by case discretion on when to give out tickets.

Coun. Andrew Knack noted the rule is meant for people deliberately disturbing the peace.

"We're not looking to penalize folks who have a broken muffler and ... are struggling and need to bring up the money to get to where they need to."

"This is very much about those who've knowingly gone out of their way to create challenges."

Coun. Michael Janz had originally suggested a $5,000 fine for drivers making noise over 92 decibels.

He's advocated for the city to consider automated enforcement.

"If this small measure doesn't work, we may need to look at other measures," Janz said Friday.

The city says the financial impacts aren't known, that there may be an increase in enforcement costs and fine revenue in the short term.

"The longer term expectation is that the introduction of this fine will act as a deterrent and the occurrence of offences will gradually decrease as a result," the city bylaw report says.

The bylaw amendments take effect immediately.

People who receive a fine can challenge it in court.