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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 January 18, 2012 at 08:44 PM
ROFLPUMHA! (Rolling on the floor laughing picking up my hearing aid!) "Upstanding citizens? Hysterical. Yeah, driving around like little kids banging a drum craving attention without the first clue to any sort of real musical structure or history, let alone social etiquette..... is exactly what I consider upstanding. Take your "liberal" interpretations elsewhere. Maybe when you mature, you'll understand others don't need to be subjected to your noise and stop making excuses for your behavior. Next thing you know, the new thing for 2012 will be the Occupy Miracle Ear movement.
Dieter Schaefer January 18, 2012 at 08:50 PM
That's what this is all about. Republicans vs Liberals. How childish are you?
Anne Onomous January 18, 2012 at 09:00 PM
:::rolling eyes::: Try harder, Your argument isn't working. I have cookies to bake for Bingo and anyway (I might add), we are registered Independents.
Dieter Schaefer January 18, 2012 at 09:06 PM
My argument is working, you are childish and exhibit the behavior of a child. You JUST rolled your eyes in text form to an individual who uses logic and reason as a means for expression.
Dizzy Lizzy January 18, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Dieter, Anne likes to post comments she knows someone will respond to... She has lumped anyone who likes loud music in their automobiles to be young punks who drive their parents cars, and as you and I both know, she is wrong. I am respectful of my neighbors and of the noise pollution laws and times, also in my 30's and an executive professional in business management. She's all talk, and an occasional eye roll via text, and then she'll clammer up and wait for the next thing she can use all CAPS in and curse as the rest of us have intelligent conversation on why this law is no good. She says "we are registered Independents.", I feel sorry for her husband (or wife) as he has to eat her cookies. Thank you for bringing real convo to the table.
James Molpus January 18, 2012 at 09:43 PM
So it matters on the style of music?? I see someone wrote AIR SUPPLY should be the punishment. What if I was listening to Air Supply when I drove by with my stereo up at extreme volumes? Would that make it better? I somehow doubt that if the "young punk" pulled up next to you and had the stereo cranked up to "YOUR FAVORITE SONG" you'd definitley not turn that guy in, huh?
James Molpus January 18, 2012 at 09:48 PM
I wish I knew where these folks lived, I'd like to see what they are actually referring to. Seems like Profiling against "YOUNG PUNKS" as they put it. Any type of music can be loud, anything can annoy another person. Who cares? Why does it matter that much. I'm in my 30's, I love the sound of a nicely tuned LOUD stereo. Does that makes me a young punk too? My motorcyle is Louder than my stereo at times. However, I never hear people turning me in for it. I think it more Suburban America ticketing Rap, Hip-Hop etc. I'm damn sure if I had my $10k+ stereo cranking up a song by The Eagles or the like, I wouldn't get any of these tickets that a kid listening to Eminem would get. That makes it wrong.
Erik Hoss January 18, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Discrimination, pure and simple. One should not be ticketed for one type of public disturbance(loud stereo) when another type of public disturbance(loud pipes) is acceptable.
Dizzy Lizzy January 18, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Agreed. And she's ONOMOUS so she'll never tell :0) LOL
Anne Onomous January 18, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Actually we spend our weekends listening to a culmination of The Partridge Family, The Osmonds, The DeFranco Family. The Jackson 5, and The Bay City Rollers. (yes, extreme sarcasm at work here). If someone pulled up next to us at a light playing "I Want You Back" at a stoplight ....you know, I might just be tempted to ask them to turn it up.... so you have a point there, James. But Air Supply? Ugh! That stuff itself should just be outlawed. And James, God Bless you for having $10k to spend on a stereo system for your vehicle. Personally, we decided to contribute the same amount to the new Sheriff's reelection fund for his efforts in making Pinellas County the shining star it once was. Gotta go, off to Curlew Bingo!
rightnow January 19, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Oh yeah, I like this one! Got a neighbor with a bass-booming stereo and he will be my first report. It's one thing if you hear loud music. OK, I can live with that. But the deep, loud vibrations are much worse. Go Sheriff!!
K. T. Lane January 27, 2012 at 02:00 PM
I don't think we should be declaring "War" on our own people over playing music, even if it is very annoying.
Anne Onomous January 27, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Love the contradictory comments. Someone's freedom to blow out their ears, break the spot welds on their car and listen to a poor excuse for music - no matter HOW annoying to others is ok? Here my friends, are the same people that let their kids scream in restaurants, theatres and grocery stores with no regard for others and we're supposed to think it's cute. Well, we don't ....and see no reason not to express that when you infringe on OUR rights.
K. T. Lane January 27, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Expressing your feelings is different than making it illegal. But on a different note, I do love your online name Anne Onomous. Wish I had thought of it.
KARL CHEBATOR January 27, 2012 at 05:41 PM
We all just have to get along and let others enjoy whatever they so choose. This is just another way for them to squeeze more money out of us. This can only lead to fines for any sort of loud noise. We as taxpayers don't agree with this ordinance. The government already has a strangle hold on us and I am getting really fed up with it.
Anne Onomous January 27, 2012 at 05:44 PM
K.T....... the Onomous family name has a long and storied history, I tell you :)
Anne Onomous January 27, 2012 at 05:50 PM
@ Karl - "and let others enjoy whatever they so choose"?? Oh great! Now the drug & prostitution trades will flourish because hey, like you say...... "let others enjoy whatever they so choose"!
KARL CHEBATOR January 27, 2012 at 05:56 PM
My bike is loud and I will be there. Can I have my ticket now please? Don't be rediculous Sheriff. When my three bicycles were stolen from my yard they took the report and told me that the case was closed. That they wouldn't be looking for them. Later on I found one of the bikes under their very nose at the Dunedin High School. Thanks for nothing.
jeff hines January 28, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Ok, motorcycles driving past do not wake babies up & frighten them,the vehicle owners who are proud to have the loudest audio system do. It is not a right to disturb people who are in their own homes & awakened every time an inconsiderate driver rolls by and their earthquake noise rattles windows & home foundations. It is everyone's right to enjoy music but assaulting & terrorizing others is not a right.These people are inconsiderate & most find it amusing that they are disturbing the peace. Motorcycles do not rattle windows! Most noise offenders are CRIMINALS anyway FACT!. If more were pulled over & ticketed, this would also lead to more drug busts & other illegal activity. They DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS especially the right people have to enjoy peace & quiet in their own home. Yeah, audio terrorist thugs, what about those people & their rights? Loud audio is used as assault on others, don't believe it? Take a look at some of the audio/subwoofer ads that invite consumers to terrify neighbors or put them into cardiac arrest. The intent is to disturb others & so why should anyone give an actual F#$% about your right? Your rights end when you infringe upon the rights of others. They don't care that they are bothering others with that infernal thumping, in fact, they like it. It's also true that these thugs detroy property, abuse animals (plenty of YOUTUBe VIDS show this! Your pitbulls don't like that noise either, s#$%heads). Pull up your pants & act decent!!
jeff hines January 28, 2012 at 01:37 AM
And to Anne Onomous, I love your clever name! Obviously not for the faint of wit. Back in the old days, guys just bought corvettes to make up for their er.. um ..shortcomings, at least they went fast & chicks dug em'. I notice these guys are never with chicks so either their efforts to compensate for something little with a big noise isn't working or they are latent homosexuals, I always only see them with other dudes. Since they are all mostly criminals anyway and just like in jail, walking around wearing their pants hanging down, it all makes sense! The boom boom is a mating call for men seeking men. Boom boom boom, big boys!
jeff hines January 28, 2012 at 02:28 AM
How about the noise that is really bothering people?, Never has a motorcyle noise rattled my windows or woke a sleeping child. What about the motorcyle noise? If you could try to understand that this has become an issue because people that are inconsiderate of others are using their excessively loud stereos & driving through neighborhoods inhabitated by people who should be able to enjoy the sound of quiet when in their own homes. It's become quite upsetting. We're not old farts, we just want to be able to sleep, study, watch television, have conversation, listen to our own music & live without having to listen to thump thump thump. In my neighborhood, it's become quite a problem & has been growing for years. There are at least 4 main guys around here who are responsible for most of the noise as they leave to and from their home & their friends also visit regularly. We've kindly asked them to lower the music, they answered with louder music. There is rarely more than a hour at a time of quiet (in our own house!) because of the incessant thump thump thumping & if all these guys wanted was to just play their music, that would be fine but it's not. Those that argue that it's just a few seconds of music from passing cars are mistaken. It's a HUGE noise & intended to be heard loud & from far away so a few seconds would be lovely but the thumping starts when the vehicle is blocks away, increasingly getting louder & louder until it's close enough to rattle the windows & doors.
Anne Onomous January 28, 2012 at 02:58 AM
I have a Vette..... a Chevette to be exact. :)
Kathy Weber April 22, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Does anyone know if I have a party at my private residence in Largo, at what time should I turn down the music so I don't get arrested. My stero isn't that great anyway, only about as loud as a car stereo. Is Saturday better than Friday. My neighbors are real jerks and will call the cops if people talk too loud even.
slp blazer July 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM
This is nuts I'm 30 n love my systems we have hit between 154.5-161.1 db at the dash the more u bitch the louder I will play it n will pay any fine I'm given just don't care n will never give up my love for the hobbie
Michael D. July 13, 2012 at 01:21 PM
I have two major problems with this law: First, if you are going to say stereos then you also have to hit all loud sounds that can flow into the roadway or neighbor. So, Stereos, Motorcycles, Load Engines, High School Football Games, MInor League Baseball Games (I can hear the fireworks & see them at my house), etc... I have a nieghbor who complained that my dogs were barking one night, chasing a possum. But then go upset when I asked him to stop yelling at his wife for the 5 night in a row at 11pm. Would be both be ticketed at that point? Second, the average citizen doesn't have the knowledge or the logical intelligents to be responsible for this. Would I be ticketed for listening to NWA, Guns n Roses, Neil Diamond, Pearl Jam or Mozart. All of which have been played with the windows down in my car this week. I'm sure that only one or two of those would upset some citizens were others would not. This just proves that Bob Gualtieri and Judy Ellis have too much time on their hands. I am going to also assume that Judy never sees fireworks, the Orchestra, Concerts, Sporting Events, because those things would be too loud and would hurt hearing.
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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