Enforcement campaign targets loud, unsafe vehicles
Imagine you’re settling into bed after a hectic day. Just as you’re about to lull into the dreamiest sleep, something startles you awake. It’s loud – it kind of sounds like a gunshot, but it’s constant for a solid minute. Your neighbour’s dog starts barking, you hear a baby wailing in the distance. Someone has just driven by with the loudest car ever, and now you’re awake. And annoyed.
Numerous complaints to Halton Regional Police about noisy vehicles in their neighbourhoods was what prompted the Service to introduce Project Noisemaker – a Region-wide initiative that focuses on the education and enforcement of illegally modified vehicles.
“Project Noisemaker was community complaint-driven. We received an inordinate amount of complaints from residents and town councilors,” said Constable Marc Taraso, in an interview at a recent education event in Burlington.
So far, the feedback has been mostly positive.
“The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” according to Taraso, who announced the project on Twitter in June. “I’ve been doing this for twelve years, and I can’t think of a single project that I have been involved in where we’ve received so much positive feedback for an enforcement project. We’ve had residents calling in to say how much of a difference they’ve noticed on the road with the reduction of noise. It’s been really positive.”
But not everyone is a fan of the project.
Critics of Noisemaker have called the enforcement a cash grab, believes the campaign unfairly targets young drivers, and often ask if officers are stopping motorcycles or luxury sports cars. According to Taraso, they are.
“Any vehicle that makes unnecessary noise or that has illegal vehicle modifications would be a focus of this project. Motorcycles are enforced with the assistance of Municipal Enforcement Officers… We set an enforcement date with Town of Oakville because we actually use noise meters and need to have certain parameters set up to be able to test. With regards to luxury or high end motor vehicles, if they have a custom after market exhaust or a muffler delete, then the enforcement would be the same as it would be for a non-high end, or non-luxury car.”
And the criticism isn’t a surprise.
“The vast majority of negative criticism I’ve been getting is from drivers who are committing these offences,” Taraso shares.
“My recommendation to them would be to think back to when they got their drivers license, and the documents they signed, where it says that driving on Ontario roads is a privilege, and with that privilege comes the responsibility of following the rules of the road. Those rules are open to the public, they’re easy to find, they’re not hidden. There’s laws that they have to follow, and part of those laws is having a safe vehicle, and having all the components of a vehicle that are mandatory to be there – like a muffler.”
Police aren’t completely against modifications.
“You can modify your vehicle, you can have fun, but you have to meet those standards so your vehicle is safe and fit for the road.”
How successful has Project Noisemaker been?
Some statistics have been released in various tweets, however the full results won’t be available until after the Project wraps up on October 31. And while tickets are one measure of success, that’s not necessarily the goal, according to Taraso. “One measure will obviously be the amount of tickets that we’ve issued or the amount of unfit vehicles we remove from the road. But that’s not really the measure that I’m looking for. I’d rather have zero tickets and 100 per cent compliance.”
Expect to see tweets, even after the campaign officially wraps up.
“Project Noisemaker officially comes to an end on October 31 but that’s just the end of the campaign. The campaign is more geared towards promoting the project, what we’re doing, and getting the message out there. After that expires, this will be an ongoing focus – not only for me, not only for traffic officers, but for general patrol officers as well.”
Do you have a traffic complaint in your neighbourhood? Did you know you can report traffic concerns online? You can find the form on the Halton Police website.