Woodward noise issues being examined by police
By Lisa Brody
Birmingham Police Chief Mark Clemence wants residents to know his department, along with Bloomfield Township and Royal Oak police departments, are working on the continued noise issues on Woodward Avenue, chiefly those caused by car enthusiasts and individuals who have modified the exhaust systems on their vehicles.
The problem is, he explained, currently there isn't a lot they can do, as “Enforcing regulations regarding excessive vehicle noise would require changes to the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code laws, which were written long before after-market exhaust systems existed,” he said, which requires changes to state laws, not local ordinances, which police departments enforce.
“The police department cannot enforce local noise ordinances on public roadways because local ordinances cannot supersede the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code,” said Clemence. “The Michigan Motor Vehicle Code controls all laws pertaining to public roadways.”
While it's not unusual for car enthusiasts to cruise along Woodward during spring and summer months, loud exhaust systems and modified mufflers contribute to concerns regarding excessive noise levels, he explained. Given that Woodward Avenue is a state of Michigan roadway, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) controls all signs, traffic signals, roadway markings and speed limits. “Current motor vehicle codes make noise enforcement problematic for officers to enforce,” he said.
Therefore, he noted, it's up to state legislators to change the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code.
Clemence said Birmingham and surrounding communities “have asked state representatives to clarify language that will help further enforce noise level regulations pertaining to modified exhaust systems.”
In addition, the police department sent a letter to the Michigan Attorney General's Office seeking clarification on a possible noise enforcement mechanism, but the response received did not clarify or assist law enforcement in addressing the issue.
Both Birmingham and Bloomfield Township police departments report they have stepped up patrols on Woodward to enforce all sections of the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code for violations, have enlisted assistance from neighboring communities of Bloomfield Hills and Royal Oak to coordinate efforts on enforcement, and have periodically invited the traffic unit of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and the Michigan State Police to assist in these efforts. Officers are issuing tickets to drivers engaging in illegal activities such as speeding and drag racing, and will continue to provide enforcement along Woodward to ensure public safety.
“The police department has worked very hard on behalf of our residents to assist with the noise problem,” said Clemence. “We encourage the community to join us in reaching out to our state representatives to request changes that will address these concerns and improve the atmosphere along Woodward.”