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Sheriff Declares War on Car Stereo Noise

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announces a new campaign to catch people who crank their car stereos at a level some would deem offensive.

You probably experience it somewhat often: you stop at a red light. Perhaps you're tuned into National Public Radio's All Things Considered or enjoying the Black Keys at a somewhat sensible level. As you're waiting for the light to change, a rhythmic boom begins to rattle the air freshener that's hanging from your rear view mirror. It drowns out every sound that should, in general, be audible - your phone's ringtone; the siren of an ambulance that may be trying to maneuver through rush hour traffic.

For many drivers (and passengers), excessively loud car stereos - ones that practically make your car shake - are an annoyance; though nothing about which anyone can really do. Until now.

On Friday, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced the launch of Operation Lower the Boom. It's an effort to encourage civilians to report excessively loud car stereos.

"One of the things we all experience is excessively loud noise," he said at a Friday press conference. "It's shattering, if you will, the windows of your car. The windows are vibrating. People are not being considerate."

Judy Ellis, of Noise-Free Florida, said her concern stems not from being irritated while stopped at red lights, but rather from living in a neighborhood where many drivers blast their stereos. Ellis said it's a matter of public health. What concerns her the most is the hearing impairment that young children may experience as a result of excessive stereo noise.

"By the time these children reach college," she said, "they'll already be severely impaired."

One key aspect of the campaign is the ability for citizens to act when they think a driver is blasting his or her stereo at an inappropriate level. All the offended party needs to do is take down the license plate number of the offending vehicle, visit pcsoweb.com, fill out a form, and the person to whom the vehicle is registered will be responsible for a hefty fine.

Gualtieri did not say how the sheriff's office would deal with incidents that fall into the gray area.

*updated 2:57 p.m. Jan. 17.

Anne Onomous July 13, 2012 at 02:07 PM
All those music choices are acceptable, not sure if listening to jet planes is safe though (NWA = Northwest Airlines?) ....... but ANY mention of listening to Air Supply is DEFINITELY punishable by law if not worthy of a ticket for bad taste!
Mike c May 26, 2013 at 02:58 PM
I have a sheriff in my complex who yells at me everytime i pass, so i just pass louder each time. I tryed to talk to her the second time she said something i asked about the noise ordinance and i asked what the rule is and what radius i have and how many DB is considered to loud and she just took the defensive stance and started screamin my whole name and my sealed record from when i was underage. Im a full time student and i am bettering mysel and if she thinks hes gonna write me a ticket im gonna pay shes got another thing coming, i will certainly refer to this post if i do get the ticket because i will certainly be fighting it. She couldnt tell me what to loud is she was just being ignorant so i think piggy jus needed some bacon.
Mike c May 26, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Bogus law, whats considered to loud? First person to actually complain about my system was an off duty sheriff and she could not define what to loud was, i turned it down second time i drove past her but apparantly not enough so she came at me again screamin my whole name and my past sealed record from when i was a minor. I said i turned it down and im just enjoying my music how i want, i dont know how far my music travels at what levels but i do know what levels i want to listen to it at and thats what i go by. So unless everyone who writes a ticket has a decible meter and knows how to use one and isnt writing tickets based on age race and or music genre this law makes as much sense as the sheriff spending money, time, and resources on anything aside from the prescription drug problem and or other violent crimes that are getting worse everyday. Not sure if she wrote a ticket but she obviousley got my tag. If she did then I will certainly be fighting it because it is an invasion of my personal rights and it is certainly profiling young drivers specifically young drivers playing loud rap music from what i see and it is certainly unjust. Good music is a matter of opinion and i shouldnt be ticketed because i like to listen to a "different" kind of music than the person who decided to take my tag that day.
Walt Kowalski May 26, 2013 at 06:20 PM
That "off duty" officer should be applauded for actually saying something. The fact you write....and I QUOTE "i do know what levels i want to listen to it at and thats what i go by"...... just confirms the typical self-centeredness of the tyical offender. Turn it down and don't even start with the race or "music genre" card crap. And now, back to my lawn chair watching weasels with 4 door, 4 cylinder little boxes with the stupid, hokey spoilers drive by.
Walt Kowalski May 26, 2013 at 06:23 PM
That "off duty" officer should actually be applauded for doing something about it. The fact you write....and I QUOTE "i do know what levels i want to listen to it at and thats what i go by"...... just confirms the typical self-centeredness of the average offender. Turn it down and don't even start with the race or "music genre" card crap. Personal rights? Profiling? ::gag:: And now, back to my lawn chair watching weasels with 4 door, 4 cylinder little boxes with the stupid, hokey spoilers drive by.

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