By Jenna McMurray, Calgary Sun
SHHHH. That was the message from Calgary police motorists during the trial run of a noise measuring device on the weekend. Police were out briefly both Friday and Sunday afternoons and, over the course of three hours total using a
single device, they handed out 17 warnings to drivers and motorcyclists deemed excessively noisy. "I was really hoping we’d have none, that everyone got the message," said Insp. Ken Thrower, adding the loudest vehicle observed was a diesel truck at 120 decibels on the gauge. "I guess I was being a little optimistic." They also issued six other charges for infractions such as equipment violations.
The weekend marked the start of a pilot project in which officers will hand out warnings for disruptive vehicle noises, while trying to pinpoint problem areas for stunting and establish what standard noise levels are in different areas. So far, six officers are trained to use the iPhone sized devices — police currently have two of them — but by the end of the month Thrower hopes to have 40 cops trained.
In the coming weeks, police will be out with the devices,
handing out warnings and doing their research in different areas, on weekdays and weekends, day and night. Thrower said police will then meet with the Crown to discuss further steps. He believes by September they will be using the devices when needed to issue excessive noise violations, which come with a $115 fine under the Traffic Safety Act.
Even then, Thrower said enforcement will be based on the officers’ discretion, as there will be obvious exceptions. Thrower insists the move is a deterrent meant to minimize major disruptions and isn’t a cash cow. "This isn’t about money," he said. "If we don’t have to write a ticket, then we’re successful, mission accomplished." He said no one will be specifically targeted, rather, motorists will easily demand police attention if their vehicles are
obnoxiously loud."You’re going to say, ‘Pick me!’ because you’re making too much noise," said Thrower.
While police were experimenting downtown, on 4 St. S.W., 17 Ave. S.W. and in Kensington on the weekend, Thrower said there are 11 main locations they plan to focus their efforts on in the coming weeks.