As a former mechanic, Greater Sudbury Police Const. Andrew Hinds admits to being a bit of a “gear-head.”
“I know what it's like to want a nice, shiny, loud vehicle,” he said.
But as Hinds, who now works with the police service's traffic unit, told the students in an auto mechanics class at Lockerby Composite School Feb. 28, modifying a vehicle can get you into trouble if you're not careful.
For example, under the Highway Traffic Act, coating on windshields that obscures the driver's view or makes it difficult to see into a vehicle is prohibited, as are coated headlights, headlights that are too bright or dim, and mufflers that produce excessive noise.
Nitrous-oxide fuel systems also aren't allowed, unless they're disconnected while on the road.
When teens purchase their own cars, they're often tempted to modify the vehicle “whether it be paint jobs or rims or tint or mufflers,” Hinds said.
He said his presentation was designed to give the students “a basis of what's legal and what's not, so that when they do hit the road, they're not getting ticketed.”
Hinds advises students or anyone else who has a question about what's allowed under the Highway Traffic Act to give Greater Sudbury Police a call.
“Police are very approachable,” he said. “We were all young once.”
It took the students a while to “come out of their shells,” but towards the end of the presentation “they had some very good questions,” Hinds said.
“It's funny, it's questions I hadn't thought of. But I remember being in their seats, thinking the very same thing.”
Grade 11 student Ryan Cormier said he thought Hinds' presentation was “really informative.”
The 16-year-old only has his G1 driver's licence for now, which means he can't drive without a fully-licensed driver sitting beside him in the passenger seat.
He said the information provided by Hinds will be useful once he's out on the roads alone.
Cormier said he's already looking forward to purchasing — and modifying — his first vehicle.
“When I get one, I'm going to put all of this technology on it, to make it faster and louder,” he said. “So, now I know what I'm allowed and not allowed to do, for sure.”
Posted by Arron Pickard