'With noise generally comes speed': EPS renewing focus on obnoxious drivers
EDMONTON -- A new effort by Edmonton police to catch excessively loud and fast drivers will see the force focus on problem areas in the city.
The hot spots, according to the Edmonton Police Service, are the downtown core, Whyte Avenue, River Valley Road and Groat Road north of Victoria Park Road.
The renewed effort, nicknamed Project TENSOR (Traffic Enforcement Noise/Speed Offence Reduction), will see EPS target its traffic safety resources as a whole, and therefore more directly, rather than in a dispersed effort, said Sgt. Kerry Bates.
It's also a first for Edmonton police.
“This is probably the first year we’ve targeted the noise specifically without just making it a service wide initiative for people to pick up on their own,” Bates commented Wednesday.
“But with noise generally comes speed.”
He estimated complaints to EPS and the City of Edmonton about speed and noise have increased about 20 per cent during the pandemic, when he suspects more people are at home.
But in the last 10 years, Edmonton police have laid 2,200 charges related to traffic noise.
According to the city, peace officers issued 130 violation tickets for noisy vehicles in the last year. Until April, the penalty was $155. Now, it,s $162.
Other hot spots include:
- the Legislature Tunnel;
- 109 Street from 97 Avenue to Jasper Avenue;
- Jasper Avenue from 95 Street to 116 Street;
- 105 Street from River Valley Road to 100 Avenue; and
- the High Level Bridge.
Although the manned radar units won't be equipped with decibel readers, Bates warned subjective testing by officers can be referenced in court.
“If we’re doing a static enforcement site for speed, and if we can hear a vehicle — whether it be a car, motorcycle, whatever — a block or two blocks down the road, that’s subjective evidence in court to say that vehicle is far too loud and exceeding what’s an acceptable noise level.”
He believes most drivers with loud vehicles are aware their ride is “obnoxious.”
“So it’s up to them to be a good neighbor.”
As part of Project TENSOR, EPS will also host what it is calling Amnesty Testing Events where motorcycle owners can see if their bikes comply with noise bylaws – without being ticketed if they don’t.
The first will be held May 28 from 1-3 p.m. at the NAIT South Campus Parking Lot at 7110 Gateway Blvd.
PROVINCE SHUTS DOWN EPS, MAYOR REQUEST FOR SEIZURES
Despite an ask from EPS and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, Alberta will not be enforcing speedsters any more harshly.
Iveson and Chief Dale McFee sent a letter to the provincial government asking for officers to be able to seize vehicles from speedy drivers.
A government spokesperson told CTV News Edmonton Wednesday morning it was aware of "this suggestion, however tough sanctions for speeding already exist."
Bates sees seizure ability as another tool.
"I don’t know if you’re taking (drivers) off the road by virtue of the high fines or the court process. It’s kind of a delayed reaction," he said.
"They can still come up with a 90-day suspension on their license, which is costly for them as far as insurance and demerits and those sorts of things, so there’s still a lever there. It’s just not as instantaneous as a vehicle seizure."
Currently, driving 50 km/h over the speed limit can cost Alberta drivers $413 and six demerit points.
Those in excess of this also have to appear in court, where a judge can issue a fine up to $2,000, the 90-day suspension, or incarceration.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Dan Grummett and Sean Amato