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Police gearing up to crack down on drivers breaking noise and speed laws
EDMONTON -- Edmonton Police Service will team up with peace officers “to address the increasing number of traffic-related noise and speeding complaints being directed to EPS and the city.”
EPS is calling this latest effort “Project TENSOR,” which aims to crack down on noise and speed at the same time.
Spokesperson Scott Pattison did not say how many noise complaints have been filed or how many tickets written in 2020, but he did write “that there have been over 2,200 charges issued pertaining to traffic-related noise since 2010.”
“Noises and speeding issues have become even more prevalent during the pandemic, with some irresponsible individuals taking advantage of lower traffic volumes and driving with reckless abandon, while placing the lives of others around them at risk,” Pattison wrote in a release issued Tuesday afternoon.
Pattison told CTV News Edmonton Monday evening that the enforcement program will also include a “motorcycle amnesty testing event.”
This comes after a rash of complaints about lead-footed and loud drivers on city streets, which are less congested than normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is the one place where people are just not being good neighbours,” Ward 8 Coun. Ben Henderson commented Monday.
Henderson represents the Whyte Avenue area and said resident complaints are common every year, but he believes they’re coming in even faster in 2020.
On Sunday night, Henderson said he heard the problem firsthand from his own backyard in the river valley.
“It was like sitting in the middle of a racetrack. Just going around and around, pretty much continuous noise,” Henderson said.
VEHICLE SEIZURES COULD BE COMING
The issue has also reached the desks of the mayor and the police chief.
On Friday, Mayor Don Iveson and Chief Dale McFee wrote a joint letter to the province asking for law changes that would allow for officers to seize the vehicles of drivers caught speeding 50 km/h over the limit.
No rule changes have been announced regarding noise specifically, but Iveson hopes a crackdown on speeders will catch noise bylaw offenders at the same time.
“It’s extremely unneighbourly behaviour and it’s bad for business,” Iveson said of Edmonton’s noise and speed issues Monday, adding both are problems that all big cities are wrestling with.
“Vehicle seizure of some of these problem and repeat offender folks will also help, so that’s why we’ve asked the province for that,” Iveson said.
HIGHER FINES CONSIDERED
After CTV News Edmonton reported on the issue in April, councillors asked city staff about raising fines for offenders, although Henderson was told they’d likely have to lobby the province for that, too.
“In the end, in terms of increasing fines and impounding vehicles and things like that, we would need changes to the provincial act,” Henderson said.
If a solution is not found soon, Henderson worries loud drivers will spark confrontations in the streets.
“There’s a huge anger building here. At a certain point people will get angry and frustrated enough that something really, truly unfortunate may happen.
“I hope that isn’t the case, and I certainly don’t encourage that.”
Police scheduled a media event for Wednesday morning, to be held in the Whyte Avenue area.