by Lon Ponschock

October 3, 2013

Over the last few months, I’ve learned a few things. “Boom car” is the street name given to cars with excessive and belligerent speaker installations that broadcast noise from the rear of the vehicle. I’ve also learned that I’m not alone in using the language of terrorism in this context. The organization Noise Free America has a number of articles in which phrases such as “audio terrorists” and “rolling PA systems” are used. The point is that the problem is well-known elsewhere but is ignored here.

The excuse commonly given by law enforcement is that it has to catch drivers in the act. But these vehicles are driven by our neighbors – yours and mine. And make no mistake, if the boom car operator is emboldened by inaction, Appleton will experience more boom car parades going down our streets.

The noise is invasive and a safety issue. Out in traffic, it’s becoming more common to get a dose of booming at a stoplight, where there’s no place to go to get away from it.

A vehicle report should be done on this. I do it repeatedly at the desk at the police station. It’s anonymous and it’s the only way to reduce the problem. More participation means the city will pay more close attention.

Finally, boom car noise is not a secondary effect of listening to music in the car. It’s a primary weapon created for the purpose of broadcasting frequencies via amplified equipment not unlike that used in crowd control. Noise Free America has put forward legislation called “Lower the Boom.” Encourage your city representatives to enact such laws here.

Lon Ponschock,