Disruptively loud, modified vehicles may soon be getting the silent treatment.
At this week’s Orillia Police Services Board meeting, Mayor Steve Clarke brought forward a motion recommending the OPP roll out a public education and enforcement blitz to reduce the number of loud, modified vehicles in local neighbourhoods.
Clarke said there has been an increase in these types of complaints.
“This is something that I’ve heard about in my office intermittently over the last eight years, but the last three or four years, the number of times I’ve heard about this has increased. I’m hearing it from members of council as well,” Clarke said.
“There was a time when … some people wanted to be seen in their vehicle for whatever reason, and I understand that, but now there seems to be a desire to not only be seen but to be heard. I’m sensing that it’s starting to affect the quality of life or the character of certain neighbourhoods.”
The Highway Traffic Act states “no person shall use a muffler cut-out, straight exhaust, gutted muffler, Hollywood muffler” on their vehicles.
The act also states drivers “shall not permit any unreasonable amount of smoke to escape from their motor vehicle, nor shall the driver at any time cause the motor vehicle to make any unnecessary noise.”
Clarke said some of the modifications to vehicles don’t just make more noise, but also “circumvent environmental controls.”
“That’s what some of these modified exhausts do: They actually bypass the controls that are in place. So, not only are they creating a loud noise; they’re also doing damage to the environment,” he said.
Clarke highlighted the difficulty of enforcing the law quickly in response to complaints about excessively loud vehicles in but encouraged citizens to nonetheless call the OPP with complaints.
“When the OPP receive the complaint, it’s very difficult to take action in real time,” Clarke said. “Without a very good vehicle description, without the licence plate number, it’s very hard for the OPP. It’s still important that constituents call the complaint in because … the more data they have that demonstrates that there’s a potential issue in an area, the more likely they are to put resources in that area to deal with those issues.”
Clarke, in a report he presented to the police services board, noted similar education and enforcement programs have been rolled out in Ottawa, Brantford, Toronto and Barrie.
Insp. Coyer Yateman, Orillia OPP detachment commander, said police could bring forward a “layered initiative” consisting of media releases, community education, focused patrols, and analysis of police data to see where these complaints are coming from.
“Providing education and awareness to the community members would be Step 1, and that can initiate probably within the next week or two if we decide to do this. The only hesitation I have … is one of our focus patrols, for sure, in September (is) we’ll be in and around the school zones during the day,” he said.
“That’ll be a significant priority, specifically in the first week of school, to have our members in those school zones and not necessarily looking for the vehicular noise, but that can be done when school’s out for the day.”
Members of the board agreed an education and enforcement campaign would be useful in Orillia, and they endorsed Clarke’s motion.
“You do hear it more and more in the neighbourhoods in and around town,” said Coun. Rob Kloostra, council’s appointee to the board. “It’s cars, motorcycles (and) diesel trucks, as well, where you see, like, the big cloud of smoke coming out of them.”