March 1, 2016
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: This month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a positive award, given to the Italian Supreme Court for making loud car stereos a crime.
The Telegraph of the United Kingdom reports that “blaring loud music from a car stereo is now a crime” in Italy. “The Supreme Court in Rome upheld a judgment by a lower court against a young man in Messina, Sicily, who was stopped by police for pumping out deafening music from his vehicle. He had installed what was described as a ‘monster stereo,’ equipped with three amplifiers, one of 1500 watts and the other two of 200 watts.”
The Italian Supreme Court ruled that the car stereo system constituted “the disturbance of the people’s sleep” and violated Article 659 of the penal code, which bans noise pollution which could disturb the public peace. The offender’s car stereo system has been confiscated.
Rick Holsclaw, a retired Houston police officer who placed an emphasis on noise enforcement, commented that he is “extremely impressed and very proud of Rome’s Supreme Court for acknowledging the destructive, intrusive, and debilitating effects of unregulated environmental noise. The United States is currently under vehicular noise assault by unscrupulous operators of illegally- modified, illegally-equipped motor vehicles which destroy the daily quality of life for millions of American citizens, especially those living in urban areas. Yet the police and courts in America treat vehicular noise as a non-issue and fail to intercede on behalf the suffering citizenry.”
Holtsclaw noted that “the federal agency directly responsible for controlling environmental pollutants in the United States is the Environmental Protection Agency. In 1981, the Reagan administration de-funded the federal noise pollution control office and delegated responsibility for noise control to states and municipalities. The state and local governments of the United States have failed the noise-beleaguered American citizen miserably.”
“Our roadways, interstate freeways, and communities are oftentimes inundated with illegally-loud motor vehicles,” stated Holtsclaw. “While all other forms of environmental pollutants in America are actually decreasing, noise pollution is increasing. Vehicular noise has become the #1 destroyer of daily quality of life for millions of American citizens. Still, no one in authority with the ability to effect change is concerned and the American citizen is left to suffer without recourse.”
HoItsclaw concluded, “I wanted to share my heart-felt praise for the Supreme Court of Rome which, with courage and tenacity, has enforced noise legislation which protects its citizens. Those agencies in the United States responsible for noise pollution have much to learn from Italy regarding concern for the noise-beleaguered citizenry.”
Larry Deal, an anti-noise activist and a member of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, also applauded the Italian Supreme Court’s decision. He noted that “the boom car noise pollution problem is usually associated with the United States, but seems to have spread world-wide.”
Deal stated that “the Italian boom car brat richly deserved the citation he received for pumping out deafening music. His boom car was equipped with a hideously noisy monster sound system. And I’ll bet that mega-thump-thump was not only plainly audible from 50 feet away, but from several city blocks, causing a mega disturbance of the peace.”
The Italian law was enforced by the simple directive to enforce the plainly-audible standard. No cumbersome noise measurements with decibel meters are necessary to crack down on boom cars and many other sources of noise pollution.
Deal observed that “there is significant concern whether the Italian law would be complied with and enforced. That seems to be a problem everywhere regarding noise laws. In this case, the law was strictly enforced. That boom car brat ended up paying a whopping fine and having his over-powered monster car sound system confiscated. Perhaps others may ignore the law and go right on disturbing the peace. But perhaps the word will get out that the country’s noise pollution law will be enforced and should be taken seriously.”
In conclusion, Deal stated that “there is a lesson to be learned here. Boom cars and other types of noise pollution sources can be dealt with by utilizing simple to enforce laws and will be taken more seriously when backed up by serious penalties. But even laws which are simple to enforce do not enforce themselves. In this case, the boom car was not ignored by the law enforcement authorities. The law was enforced and the court did not let the arrogant boom car brat wiggle out of his well-deserved citation and punishment. We need to see more of that kind of law enforcement action here in the United States.”
Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a national citizens’ organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the National Football League, the FAA, and the Hot Springs Motorcycle Weekend.