Noise pollution on the streets of Tallahassee? Have you ever been at a red light and heard the “boom, boom, boom” that sounded like a helicopter was about to land on your roof? You look over to your left and see a car, windows down in 104 degree heat, driver rocking up, down and sidewise so that even the car is rocking or vibrating from the bass beat that is so loud you hear it over the rushing of the AC on high and your radio set on radio 106.1? You turn up the volume, but it can not drown out the 320 decibles coming from the left. You whisper to yourself, “there outta be a law!”. Well, here is the law in Florida:
STATE UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL
316.3045 Operation of radios or other mechanical soundmaking devices or instruments in vehicles; exemptions.(1) It is unlawful for any person operating or occupying a motor vehicle on a street or highway to operate or amplify the sound produced by a radio, tape player, or other mechanical soundmaking device or instrument from within the motor vehicle so that the sound is:
(a) Plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more from the motor vehicle; or
(b) Louder than necessary for the convenient hearing by persons inside the vehicle in areas adjoining churches, schools, or hospitals.
(2) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any law enforcement motor vehicle equipped with any communication device necessary in the performance of law enforcement duties or to any emergency vehicle equipped with any communication device necessary in the performance of any emergency procedures.
(3) The provisions of this section do not apply to motor vehicles used for business or political purposes, which in the normal course of conducting such business use soundmaking devices. The provisions of this subsection shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, from regulating the time and manner in which such business may be operated.
(4) The provisions of this section do not apply to the noise made by a horn or other warning device required or permitted by s. 316.271. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall promulgate rules defining “plainly audible”
and establish standards regarding how sound should be measured by law enforcement personnel who enforce the provisions of this section.
(5) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
According to a report filed by the Florida Chief of Police Associations:
LOUD CAR STEREO “Boom Box” INITIATIVE: FPCA supports amending section 316.3045, Florida Statutes to eliminate the non-moving violation penalty and make a first time offense a moving violation that would place three (3) points on the offender’s driver’s license. FPCA also supports a doubled fine for a second offense within a twelve month period, and tripled fine for a third offense within twelve months. Legislation died on House side. Since the Session ended, the 2nd DCA has ruled that this statute is unconstitutional on vagueness grounds. We are working with the Attorney General’s Office to develop a strategy on this issue.
Now do not get all upset, the court only stated that the statute was “vague” and therefore unenforceable. This means that law enforcement will most probably stop issuing citations until the statute is tweeked to conform to the court’s ruling. Remember statutes are written by lawyers to be interpreted by lawyers. They keep each other employed.