Noise Free America’s Agenda
Each State of the United States is called upon to declare noise a dangerous form of pollution, a serious threat to health and safety, and a widespread problem subject to State jurisdiction. All States should adopt a comprehensive Noise Code which would form the general framework for county and local ordinances within the State. Counties and localities would be required to adopt the elements of the Noise Code and would be required to submit any allowable local modifications to the State for approval. No element of the Noise Code could be disallowed by the local jurisdictions. However, any local modification of the Noise Code or separate regulation construed to be more stringent than the State Noise Code would be allowed.
The Noise Code for each State should contain, but not be limited to, the following essential provisions:
(1) Plainly audible standard: Police and other enforcement officials shall detect excessive noise from motor vehicles, motorcycles, and houses according to the “plainly audible” standard.
(2) Ten foot rule: No motor vehicle or motorcycle shall emit an electronically amplified sound plainly audible beyond ten feet from its source.
(3) No loud pipes: No motor vehicle or motorcycle shall be equipped with an engine exhaust pipe or muffler not approved under given State noise abatement requirements.
(4) No loud amplifiers: The installation of electronic amplification equipment capable of generating noise beyond a specified decibel level within a motor vehicle shall be deemed a misdemeanor or better and subject the installer to a prescribed punishment and/or fine.
(5) Punishment for loud pipes: The installation of unapproved engine exhaust pipes or mufflers on a motor vehicle or motorcycle shall be deemed a misdemeanor or better and subject the installer to a prescribed punishment and/or fine.
(6) No jake brakes: The use of “Jake brakes” on commercial motor vehicles shall be prohibited. Both the owner and operator of such vehicles shall be subject to a prescribed punishment and/or fine. Air exhausts on air brakes shall be maintained to factory specifications.
(7) Fines for loud vehicles: The owner and/or operator of any motor vehicle or motorcycle issuing excessive noise or noises shall be subject to a prescribed punishment and/or fine.
8) Impoundment of loud cars: Any motor vehicle or motorcycle issuing excessive noise or noises shall be subject to immediate impoundment either according to mandate or at the discretion of the enforcement officer. In the case of impoundment, the offending equipment shall be confiscated, and the owner and/or operator shall be subject to impoundment fees, equipment removal costs, and a prescribed punishment and/or fine.
(9) No gasoline-powered leaf blowers: The sale and use of all gasoline-powered leaf blowers shall be prohibited.
(10) Punishment for owners of barking dogs: The owner of a canine whose bark is heard continually beyond a given property line for a prescribed period of time shall be subject to punishment and/or fine. A third violation will subject the canine to possible impoundment within an animal shelter and the owner of the dog to further punishment and/or fine.
(11) Limitations on power equipment: The use of outdoor power equipment shall be permitted within time periods described by local or county ordinance.
(12) Time limits on construction and garbage collection: Construction activity and garbage collection shall be limited to time periods described by local or county ordinance.
(13) Car alarms prohibited: The sale and installation of electronic “car alarms” shall be prohibited. Within two years from passage of the Noise Code, the use of “car alarms” in a motor vehicle shall be deemed a misdemeanor or better and subject the vehicle to impoundment and the vehicle owner to prescribed punishment and/or fine. The use of more effective passive anti-theft systems (such as “The Club” and “Lo Jack”) shall be recommended and their use encouraged through public service announcements.
(14) Limitations on jet skis: The maximum exhaust noise issuing from “jet skis” shall be prescribed by State law. Violators will be subject to a prescribed fine and the offending equipment will be subject to impoundment.
(15) Limitations on ATVs: The maximum exhaust noise issuing from All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) shall be prescribed by State law. Violators will be subject to a prescribed fine and the offending equipment will be subject to impoundment.
(16) Limitations on dirt bikes: The maximum exhaust noise issuing from motorized “dirt bikes” shall be prescribed by State law. Violators will be subject to a prescribed fine and the offending equipment subject to impoundment.
(17) Limitations on snowmobiles: The maximum exhaust noise issuing from snowmobiles shall be prescribed by law. Violators will be subject to a prescribed fine and the offending equipment subject to impoundment.
(18) No jet skis at public beaches: “Jet skis” shall be prohibited from specified public State waters and public State beaches.
(19) No ATVs and dirt bikes on specified lands: ATVs and motorized “dirt bikes” shall be prohibited from specified public State lands.
(20) Limitations on motorized watercraft: Use of motorized watercraft on public waters shall be limited to times prescribed by county and local ordinance.
(21) Zones without motorized watercraft: A specified percentage of public waters within each State shall be free of all motorized watercraft.
(22) Snowmobile restrictions: Snowmobiles shall be prohibited from State lands.
(23) Livability Courts: “Livability Courts” to deal with everyday quality of life issues should be considered for every locale and/or county.
(24) No state boom car training: No school receiving State funding shall offer courses on the installation of prohibited electronic amplification devices in motor vehicles or the installation of motor vehicle exhaust systems which exceed State mandated noise levels. Nor shall any student receive State funding in order to pursue such a course at any teaching institution, private or public.
(25) Limitations on outdoor amplified speakers: Outdoor amplified music shall be subject to county and local regulation based on guidelines prescribed within the State Noise Code.
(26) Anti-noise curriculum: A broad-based public education anti-noise campaign, with particular emphasis on an anti-noise noise curriculum in the public schools, should be implemented.
(27) State anti-noise coordinator: Each State’s governor shall appoint a “noise coordinator” who will oversee the implementation of the Noise Code, assure compliance by counties and localities, arbitrate the changes and modifications requested by counties and localities, and oversee the selection and training of sworn non-police “noise monitors” who will be granted full powers of enforcement for noise statutes.
(28) All private vehicles: The State Noise Code shall apply to all registered and unregistered motor vehicles. Exemptions for police, fire, ambulance, and other official and unofficial emergency motor vehicles as well as other special cases shall be considered by the noise czar on a request basis.
(29) Limiting siren noise: Qualifying locales of a certain population density may submit to the noise coordinator for his approval a plan to limit unnecessary horn and siren blowing by police, fire, and emergency vehicles.
(30) Limitations on outdoor compressor units: The noise from outdoor cooling fan and compressor units shall not exceed specified decibel levels within a specified distance from the nearest dwelling. Should measured decibel levels be exceeded, the owner of the equipment and/or the owner of the premises in question shall be subject to per diem prescribed fines.
(31) Noise walls: States should construct noise walls along highways in heavily-traveled and densely-populated areas.
(32) Adequate funding: States, counties, and localities shall provide funding and resources necessary for enforcement of these provisions.
The Federal government is called upon to declare noise a dangerous form of pollution, a serious threat to health and safety, and a public menace. To this end, Noise Free America recommends the following:
(1) Establish a noise agency: The dormant Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) within the United States Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) should be revived with full funding.
(2) Limitations on train horns: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) should reexamine its regulations regarding the length and duration of train horns at intersections that are equipped with bells, lights, and safety gates.
(3) Limitations on back-up beepers: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should reexamine its requirement for back-up beepers and trucks and vans. At the least, it should require back-up beepers of diminished volume.
(4) Federal agencies study noise pollution: The President’s Council on Environmental Quality, the United States Surgeon General, and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control should study and publicize the health and safety hazards of noise pollution.
(5) FTC warning labels: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should (a) require warning labels on products that are capable of causing hearing damage; (b) mandate a maximum decibel level for all electronically amplified products such as not to exceed “safe and reasonable” use; and (c) ban all toys whose noise levels pose a documented risk to the hearing of children.
(6) Quieting jet aircraft: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should set stricter noise thresholds for existing private and commercial internal combustion engine airplanes and mandate significantly quieter engines for future aircraft of this type.
(7) Noise-silencing technologies: The FAA should give high priority to the goal of reducing by at least half the current “noise quotient” near existing airports within ten years using noise-sensitive routing protocols and noise cancellation and silencing technologies. Furthermore, substantial cash prizes should be awarded to designers and builders of prototypes of “the world’s quietest airplanes” for selected categories of aircraft. The manufacturers of such aircraft should be granted significant tax benefits and other competitive advantages by Congress.
(8) Limitations on “piped-in” music: The FAA shall set a maximum decibel limit for music “piped in” to airport terminals under its jurisdiction.
(9) Limitations on car stereos: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should impose standards on allowable decibel levels for car stereos.
Noise Free America calls upon private businesses to voluntarily limit noise from:
(1) Piped-in “background” music in retail and wholesale stores, malls, restaurants and workplaces.
(2) Loud television or radio sets in stores.
(3) Use of the store intercom for advertisements and internal communication.
(4) Outside amplified speakers.
(5) Deliveries between the hours of 10:00 pm and 7:00 am.
(6) Use of leaf blowers.
(7) Unnecessary use of back-up beepers.
(8) Unnecessary use of in-store buzzers.
(D) Automobile Manufacturers.
Noise Free America calls upon American automobile manufacturers to:
(1) Cease offering promotional discounts for car alarms.
(2) Cease manufacturing keyless entry systems with loud “chirping” noises.
(3) Make production of quieter vehicles a top priority.
(E) Boom Car Advertising.
Noise Free America calls upon manufacturers and distributors of boom car equipment to cease using violent and sexist imagery in their advertising.