As the warm weather arrives, so does the season of noise pollution. Open windows may let in the fresh air, but they also let noise flow freely in and out. Every week of the summer, RCMP receive numerous complaints regarding noise from vehicles and house parties.
“Some level of noise is part of the urban environment but, now that spring is here and people are opening their home and vehicle windows, the RCMP want to remind people to be sensitive to the impact their behaviours are having on others,” says Corporal Karyn Kay of the Red Deer RCMP.
Vehicle noise & penalties:
The most common vehicle noise complaints include revving at intersections and accelerating too quickly, which create excessive vehicle noise. Other common complaints include vehicles with excessively loud stereos or with modified exhaust systems that can be heard for blocks. RCMP and Community Peace Officers apply these sections of the Alberta Highway Traffic Act when addressing vehicle noise complaints:
- Section 61 (Vehicle Equipment Regulation) prohibits mufflers that create excessive noise or produce flames or sparks, prohibits widened exhaust outlets, and prohibits devices attached to exhaust systems or mufflers that increase vehicle noise. The fine is $115.
- Section 82 (Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulation) prohibits emitting loud and unnecessary noise from a vehicle or any part of it, or from any thing or substance that the vehicle or a part of the vehicle comes into contact with. The fine is $115.
- Section 87 (Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulation) prohibits driving a motor vehicle in a residential area in an unduly disturbing manner between 10 pm and 7 am. The fine is $115.
Party noise & penalties:
Noise complaints also abound in the summer regarding loud music and conversation at house parties. RCMP ticket these complaints through The City of Red Deer Community Standards Bylaw, Part 1 (Noise), which states that no person shall cause or permit any noise that annoys or disturbs the peace of any other person, or allow property that they own or control to be used so that noise from the property annoys or disturbs the peace of any other person.
- · Section 3 (1) Prohibits people from causing or permitting noise that annoys or disturbs the peace of any other person.
- · Section 3 (2) Prohibits property owners from permitting property that they own or control to be used so that noise from the property annoys or disturbs the peace of any other person.
- · Section 3 (4) In determining what constitutes noise likely to annoy or disturb the peace of other persons, consideration may be given, but is not limited to, the type, volume and duration of the sound, the time of day and day of the week, and the nature and use of the surrounding area.
- · Fines for a first offence are $250; that amount doubles for a second offense and triples for the third and subsequent offences. Habitual offenders may also be charged with Mischief under the Criminal Code.
“A little neighbourly courtesy can go a long way to making the summer an enjoyable, conflict-free time for everyone,” Kay says. “Just remember that your right to make noise ends at the point where it infringes on your neighbours’ right to enjoy their yard or to get a decent night’s sleep.”
Noise complaints should be reported to the RCMP complaint line at 403-343-5575. It is not appropriate to call 911 for noise complaints; 911 is for emergencies only. Please note that RCMP require a license plate number in order to follow up with vehicular noise complaints.
Test your vehicle noise during Cruise Night Show and Shine tonight
Join City of Red Deer staff at a free decibel reading event tonight, June 23, at the Red Deer Cruise Night Show and Shine to test vehicle noise emissions. City staff will be on site at the Crossroads Church parking lot from 6 to 8 p.m. to test sound levels from all types of vehicles. Motorists are encouraged to bring their car, truck or motorcycle out to assess if their vehicle noise levels fall within the acceptable decibel range for industry and community standards to avoid violating the Alberta Traffic Safety Act or The City of Red Deer Community Standards Bylaw. No tickets will be issued for noise violations to participants in the decibel reading event.