by Kathryn Bursch


February 25, 2008

St. Petersburg, Florida – Drive most anywhere in the city and you’re going to hear noise. It just comes with the territory.

But for some people the thumping of loud music is enough to drive them crazy.

“I get chest pain,” says anti-noise activist Judy Ellis. “I know people who become nauseated or who break out in a sweat or they shake. I had one lady tell me she thought she was having a stroke.”

Ellis has been working to tone down car stereos for years and now she and the city have come up with a new way for complaints to be heard.

“It’s just a way of saying, ‘We have a law. This is discourteous. You’re disturbing your neighbors.’”

Here’s how the program works: If a person hears a loud stereo and gets a tag number, they can fill out a citizen complaint form and mail it to the city. Then the St. Petersburg Police will send the car’s owner a letter. There are no fines. The letter just reminds the offender to respect other people and turn down the volume.

But can a simple letter actually make a difference? After hearing his car stereo thumping, Tampa Bay’s 10 News caught up with Mario Mayers. The 19-year-old St. Petersburg College student says he enjoys listening to loud music “because it feels like you’re really there in a concert hall.”

And even though Mayers has racked up some noise fines in the past, he says a letter could make him reduce his boom volume.

“Yeah, it probably would. I would be more conscious of the other people around me.”

Similar programs have been tried in other cities. It’s just one more way people are trying to lower the boom on boomers.

  • To request a car stereo noise complaint form, you can e-mail Judy Ellis at Noise Free Florida. Judy Ellis: [email protected]
  • You can also call St. Petersburg Neighborhood Partnership 727-892-5141
  • The forms are also available at city Neighborhood Resource Centers