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Eggie's avatar

Can a person play loud music in their cars?

Asked by Eggie (5855points) March 15th, 2015

Is it a crime to be playing loud music in you car? Can you get charged for that? Is it a common occurrence in the United States? What is the penalty?

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9 Answers

janbb's avatar

Someone got killed for it in Florida a year or two ago but generally it is often done. Not sure if there are regulations against it or not.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Depends on exactly how loud it is. There are noise ordinances everywhere, so you can get charged for violating them if your sound system is loud enough. And a lot of jurisdictions also have specific regulations concerning music coming from cars (though they are typically formulated to be consistent with the local noise ordinances). The standard rule for those jurisdictions that have specific rules about car stereos is that the music should not be loud enough to be heard distinctly (e..g., someone could make out the lyrics) from 25 (sometimes 50) feet away.

When the law is enforced, the penalty is typically a ticket with a graduated fine (e.g., $80 for the first offense, $125 for the second). In jurisdictions where the law is more lenient (such as where they use the 50 foot rule) the starting fine is usually higher (so $125 for the first offense and $250 for the second is likely). Since you have to be more of a nuisance to get fined in the first place in those jurisdictions, the penalty starts out more severe. But like all local laws, it can vary from place to place—so you might want to look into it if you are worried about being reported (or wanting to report someone).

JLeslie's avatar

It’s done all the time in the US. It’s not safe for obvious reasons. Hearing what is around us is a part of what keeps us safe when we drive. Deaf people are allowed to drive, so I assume there is no specific law against loud music or using earbuds or earphones while driving, but I don’t know that for sure. I know my mom never let me wear earphones in the car while driving when I was a teen and it was becoming very popular to use a Walkman back then.

As far as the music causing noise pollution, there are laws that you cannot disrupt people’s quiet enjoyment of their property, but a car just driving by with loud music on and windows rolled down isn’t likely to get into any trouble. I’ve never heard of anyone getting stopped for it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If you can keep the sound all inside your car you can enjoy it as loud as you like – until you pop your eardrums.
Incredibly, New York State does not have a noise ordinance. They offer a recommendation but leave it to the communities to decide – as it should be since communities vary so much. I live in a more rural area. I can go outside right now and fire a 12 ga shotgun without being in violation. We are permitted to hunt certain animals at night, with rifles, and night vision equipment! Can you imagine? At 2 AM, “Blam! Blam! Blam!” is loud, even if it is over 200 yards away. Nobody gets worried. Do that in the city and you would be arrested in minutes.
Meanwhile the “Um pah, um pah, um pah, um pah…” base beat of a neighborhood kid’s car audio system stereo is quite annoying.
Here is a list of noise ordinances for some cities.
Noise ordinances

anniereborn's avatar

I don’t know but I wish there was. Some of the people in our neighborhood…..uggggg.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I’ve heard stories about cash starved jurisdictions with liberal definitions of “disturbing the peace” applied to “outsiders” cruising through town.

cheebdragon's avatar

I can and I frequently do, not so much in residential areas though. As long as you don’t do it after 10:30pm, the cops usually won’t mess with you.

Strauss's avatar

The municipality I live in has a noise ordinance. I have not heard of any arrests under that law.

Ironically, the city is also adjacent to a major Air Force installation, which is home to an Air National Guard F-16 Wing. I saw an odd superimposition of road signs, one sign announcing the noise ordinance, the other one, within ten feet, announcing that: ”...you are now within the Noise Influence Area…” of the Air Base.

jca's avatar

Usually if you’re just driving through, there’s not an issue. However, if you sit and idle your car with the loud bass booming and it’s the middle of the night, residents of the area may not be too happy.

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