In November 2004, about 8 months after the possibili- ty to ban car alarms was discussed in City Council, the director of health protection of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority issued a policy report regarding "Noise Regulation - addressing Car Alarm Noise".
The report stated that the City's Motor Vehicle Noise Abatement Bylaw contains provisions restricting the sounding of car alarms for more than 1 minute or more than 3 times in a 24-hour period and provides for impoundment of an offending vehicle. There was no recommendation by the Urban Noise Task Force to prohibit car alarms. Many factory-installed systems also include a "panic button" feature, which allows the user to instantaneously arm and set off the alarm to ward off an attack. This safety feature would be in- activated along with the car alarm under an outright prohibition of use. The inaudible systems ... may pre- sent a safety risk to the car-owner if he or she rushes out to the vehicle, in response to a page, while the break-in is still in progress. Other points were the ve- hicle's central wiring combining alarm and horn, and enforcement of the law.
|President Hans Schmid spoke to City Council on December 2, 2004 to comment and offer suggestions: If inaudible alarms would present a potential risk to the owners, audible alarms could present the same risk to anyone trying to avert a break-in. All that is needed is proper instruction of the owner NOT to respond, but to call police. The wiring could be altered to separate the alarm from other functions. The federal law could or should be amended that this change will not reduce the warrantee.|
Hans agreed with the possible use of Parking Enforce- ment staff to also look after offending car alarms and suggested an amendment of the law to accept the wit- ness of at least 3 people within earshot attesting to have heard it for 1 minute as the same evidence as if a police officer had heard it. Also, police, towing and impounding personnel should be authorised to deacti- vate an alarm. He urged Council to consider and pro- vide much more preventive public education.
The City would need a charter amendment to legally implement a ban on car alarms.