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Vehicle noise legislation

Provincial Legislation

Alberta Traffic Safety Act and Regulations

  • A person shall not create or cause any loud and unneccessary noise from a vehicle or any part of a vehicle.
  • A motor vehicle must have an exhaust muffler that expels the exhaust gases without excessive noise.
  • A person shall not drive or operate a motor vehicle if the exhaust outlet of the muffler has been widened.
  • A person shall not drive or operate a motor vehicle if a device is attached to the exhaust system or the muffler increases the noise.

The above provincial legislation identifies sound from an exhaust muffler in terms of "excessive noise" or "any loud and unnecessary noise" but does not define excessive or loud. Evidence presented in court is very subjective and open to interpretation.

Municipal Bylaws

Community Standards Bylaw 5M2004:

  • No person shall permit a vehicle located on a premise to emit noise which emanates from that premises and disturbs or annoys a Person, including noise from excessive engine revving and stereo and amplification equipment in the vehicle.
  • Whether any sound annoys or disturbs a person and constitutes objectionable noise, is a question of fact to be determined by a Court hearing a prosecution pursuant to this section of the bylaw.

Municipal Traffic Bylaw 26M96:

  • No person shall apply or engage engine retarder brakes on any truck in any part of the City.
  • A person must not make, or allow to be made, any objectionable noise.

This bylaw defines "objectionable noise" as:

  • Sound from a motor vehicle that annoys or disturbs humans.
  • The squeal of a tire from a vehicle accelerating or changing direction.
  • A roaring or explosive sound.
  • Sound from a radio, stereo, television or amplified equipment.
  • Sound of a diesel engine bus which has been idling for more than three minutes at the same location.
  • Sound of a motor vehicle security system which is made for a period exceeding one minute or made more than three times in one 24-hour period, except for the motor vehicle security system's activation status signal.

As with the Alberta regulations the level of objectionable noise was not defined and was subjective and open to interpretation.

At Council on  July 5, 2011 the Municipal Traffic Bylaw 26M96 was amended by Bylaw 41M2011 and the following point was added to the definition of “objectionable noise”:

  • Noise measured at 96 decibels (dBA) or more as measured by a sound pressure level meter at any point of reception. Where “Point of reception” means any location where sound levels are measured with a sound pressure level meter.