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Drivers of too-loud vehicles are now slapped with $250 tickets in Red Deer

Police and peace officers are armed with decibel readers and an updated noise bylaw
A peace officer holds a decibel meter to a car’s tail pipe to measure the noise that is being emitted. (Contributed photo).

Red Deerians living along 30th Avenue and other major arteries in the city are about to get some sweet auditory relief.

Eight vehicles were ticketed along 30th Avenue in just one evening this month for producing ear-splitting decibel-levels of engine noise.

One of these vehicles was recorded emitting 117 decibels — which is similar to the noise emitted at a rock concert.

“Noise at that level is not just annoying, but detrimental to one’s health,” says municipal policing services superintendent Peter Puszka on Tuesday.

He noted the city receives hundreds of complaints from citizens related to excessive vehicle noise throughout the warmer months.

In the past, noise complaints were largely considered subjective.

But now, a new noise enforcement campaign was started by Red Deer RCMP and community peace officers with newly purchased decibel readers.

This effort was also made possible by an amended community standards bylaw that now sets out penalties at $250 for a first noise offence under the bylaw, increasing to $500 for the second, and $1,000 for a third offence.

The City of Red Deer reported that the first enforcement took place on Aug. 10. from 6 -10 p.m., when peace officers patrolled a noise complaint hot spot along 30 Avenue, resulting in eight charges under Section 5.1 of the Community Standards Bylaw for being over the decibel limit.

Puszka said acceptable decibel levels were determined by reviewing medical literature as to safe noise exposure levels, as well as considering other municipalities’ bylaws.

The community standards bylaw now includes acceptable decibel levels for a idling, as well as for driving at various levels of speed. Limits of 92 or 96 decibels were written into the bylaw, depending on a vehicle’s rate of acceleration.

“Red Deerians should be able to enjoy both public and private spaces without being bombarded by excessive vehicle noise, and our enforcement efforts are a response to the concerns raised by our community,” said Puszka.

Noise complaints can be reported to the Red Deer police non-emergency line at 403-343-5575. If possible, callers are asked to include the licence plate when reporting a vehicle.

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