March 1, 2011

Noise Free America
For immediate release

Ted Rueter
[email protected]

Albany: The Hawaii state legislature has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for indefinitely deferring legislation to place severe limits on boom car equipment in Hawaii.

Hawaii’s House Transportation Committee recently held a hearing on HB 1178, which would have “banned the installation and ownership of after-market car stereo systems with speakers of more than 6.5 inches in height or depth, with five or more speakers, and with speakers rated at more than 100 watts.” The bill was sponsored by Representative Marcus Oshiro, who was responding to complaints from constituents that noise from loud cars is dangerous, intrusive, and annoying.

Representatives of the boom industry went into high gear to defeat the legislation. The Consumer Electronics Assocation (CEA) stated that “the proposed legislation would have negatively impacted Hawaiian businesses and eliminated jobs, just as the state is emerging from the worst recession in recent memory. It also would have cost the state significant tax revenues generated through the sale and installation of after-market speakers and subwoofers.” CEA also stated that they favor “the responsible use of consumer electronics in a safe listening environment.” They also claimed that the bill would cause some electronics retailers to to out of business.

Chris Cook, executive director of the Mobile Electronics Retailers Association (MERA), stated that “MERA is against any bill or law that would inhibit the sale of mobile electronics products, especially when an unfair advantage is given to an auto maker to sell subwoofers…This inhibits fair trade and should not be allowed.”

Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, noted that “the arguments of boom car lobbyists are absurd. They claim to be defending ‘free trade,’ ‘responsibility,’ ‘safety,’ ‘jobs,’ and ‘tax revenue.’ I never realized that boom car equipment is as American as motherhood and apple pie!”

Rueter observed that “boom car equipment is contrary to the public health and welfare. The net economic and social impact is extremely negative. Far from generating tax revenue, boom car equipment drains the public treasury, through increased medical bills, hearing loss, and decreased property values. Also, the Department of Justice reports that there is a strong relationship between boom car noise and crime, drugs, and gangs.”

“In addition,” Rueter stated, “it is simply amazing that the boom car lobbyists claim to support the ‘responsible’ use of boom car equipment in a ‘safe listening environment.’ Boom car equipment is inherently unsafe, and it is inherently irresponsible and anti-social. It should be banned. Hawaii’s legislation was a huge step in the right direction. It is deeply disappointing that the bill was shelved. We commend Representative Oshiro for his efforts, and hope that he will reintroduce the bill in the near future.”

Noise Free America is a national citizens organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Youngstown, Ohio; Madison, Wisconsin; and Richmond, Virginia.