New Fines and Enforcement Plans to Calm Downtown Traffic

April 13, 2023

This spring and summer Boise Police will increase nighttime patrols downtown to enforce driving laws and address other public safety and noise concerns. This year, Boise City Council also passed amendments to three Boise City Codes to help calm downtown traffic and deter certain dangerous behaviors.

“Downtown Boise is a vibrant and exciting place to be, and we want all members of our community to feel safe while enjoying their night,” said Captain Mike Ruffalo, Community Outreach Division. “Dangerous driving behaviors coupled with loud noises and modified exhausts on vehicles have caused significant safety concerns and quality of life issues for those living, working, and enjoying downtown.”

One of the changes includes new language in the Motor Vehicle Noise Ordinance that addresses drivers who unnecessarily rev their engines creating noise that can be heard 50 feet away. This violation applies to moving, stopped, and parked vehicles.  Additional changes address modified exhaust systems which result in excessive smoke from vehicles, loud engines, as well as loud popping sounds.  Due to an increase in this backfiring sound, officers and the public have reported hearing what sounds like gunfire regularly while downtown, especially on weekend nights.  Boise Police officers have spent years writing citations for drivers with a modified exhaust but the $67 fine has not deterred many drivers from being repeat offenders.  Beginning this weekend, that fine will increase to $356.50.

As part of an overall strategy to increase safety downtown, Boise Police traffic enforcement officers will begin patrols in the early evening on eastbound I-184.

“Vehicles coming into downtown Boise on I-184 are often observed at over 100 mph and routinely 20mph over the posted speed limit of 60mph. We have found that stopping racing and reckless driving on I-184 lessens similar behaviors that occur later in the downtown core,” said Captain Ruffalo.

Officers will also continue to address other driving behaviors and public safety concerns in the downtown core including drag racing, excessive acceleration, loud stereos, fighting, vandalism, underage drinking, and drivers failing to yield to pedestrians/bicyclists.

“The cruise has been a longtime destination for drivers.  There are many competing interests in downtown Boise, and we want to let drivers know that in the interest of public safety, Boise Police will contact drivers who are speeding, causing unnecessary engine revving, driving aggressively, have equipment violations on their vehicles, or have modified exhausts systems to include but not limited to those that cause a popping or backfiring noise among other city code violations.”

These city code changes apply city-wide and similar targeted traffic enforcement could happen in other areas of town as needed.

Contact: Boise Police Media Relations

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