May 1, 2013

Noise Free America
For immediate release

Ted Rueter
[email protected]

Chapel Hill: Florida state Senator Audrey Gibson, a Democrat from Jacksonville, has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for her pro-noise comments regarding a bill to restrict loud car stereos.

Recently, the Criminal Justice Committee of the Florida state senate was considering SB 634, which would prohibit motorists from blasting their music so that it is “plainly audible” from 25 feet or more away. The legislation would authorize police officers to pull over violators and give them a $30 citation. The bill was intended to address issued identified by the Florida Supreme Court.

Most members of the committee supported the bill. But not Senator Gibson. During a legislative hearing, she proclaimed, “I like my music loud and I don’t think I should have a ticket if my windows are up and I’m bobbin’ like I usually do down the Interstate. That’s my enjoyment and it’s not offensive to anyone that I know of.”

Senator Gibson’s adolescent comments are uninformed and misguided. Numerous medical studies have shown that excessive noise is physically harmful. Noise pollution causes sleep deprivation, hearing loss, anxiety, hostility, chronic fatigue, depression, and hypertension. Senator Gibson’s loud music is indeed offensive—and harmful—to others.

Senator Gibson also seems not to understand the nature of sound. Noise travels—regardless of whether or not one’s “windows are up.” Thumping from a powerful car stereo can sometimes be heard hundreds of feet away.

Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, noted that “Senator Gibson also seems not to understand that excessive noise damages communities. Excessive noise damages Floridians’ right to enjoy their property peacefully. Many communities and neighborhoods in Florida are pounded by constant thumping from boom cars. A census Bureau study indicates that excessive noise is Americans’ #1 complaint about their neighborhoods and the #1 reason they wish to move.”

Vivek Golikeri, an anti-noise activist in Dania, Florida, was also outraged by Senator Gibson’s comments. He noted that “one would expect that someone elected to represent citizens would conduct themselves with the maturity and good taste which the offices requires. Therefore, I find it shocking and irresponsible that State Senator Audrey Gibson stated that she likes to blast her music while driving down the highway.”

Golikeri compared Senator Gibson’s comment to other hypothetical situations:
“Suppose the Florida state legislature was debating a bill regarding drunk driving and one of the lawmakers remarked: ‘I like to have a few beers before I hit the highway.’ Or suppose that during a debate on public indecency, one of the lawmakers stated, ‘I like to run down the street naked and urinate in public.’”

Senator Gibson’s comments were shameful. Elected officials have a responsibility to protect the public against sonic assault. Instead, Senator Gibson does it herself! Her attitude is similar to those of many elected officials, who fail to understand that the American public is seeking peace and quiet, not booming noise.

Noise Free America is a national citizens’ organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the Florida state legislature; the Florida Marlins; the Sarasota, Florida ACLU; and Lee County, Florida.