February 1, 2008
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Madison: The Federal Signal Corporation, manufacturer of “The Rumbler,” has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for creating the greatest threat to peace and quiet since the invention of the boom car itself.
“The Rumbler” is an extremely loud, low-frequency siren–like a subwoofer bass–which can be heard and felt 300 feet from the vehicle. They are designed to get the attention of drivers who cannot hear normal sirens because they are playing their stereo too loudly or because their mufflers drown out any other sounds. The device emits its penetrating, low-frequency sounds in 15-second cycles. They shake your rear-view mirror with a thumping blast.
The Federal Signal Corporation, based in University Park, Illinois, sells these noisemaking devices for $350. Dozens of police departments throughout the country are rushing to install them on their vehicles.
Mike Smith, an anti-noise activist in Pulaski, Virginia, states that “police purchase of ‘The Rumbler’ is a gross abuse of taxpayer resources. For one thing, the smaller 8-inch Rumbler subwoofers are already outgunned by 10-, 12-, 15-, and 18-inch subwoofers installed on millions of boom cars across the country. Secondly, it will only be a matter of time before local citizens demand the removal of Rumbler equipment from all emergency vehicles, because it will only add to the low-frequency assault we experience day and night from boom cars, loud mufflers, and home stereos. Installation of the Rumbler subwoofers will set back the progress toward stricter enforcement of noise ordinances.”
Ron Czapala, head of the group No Boomers (www.noboomers.com), and also a member of Noise Free America, stated that “police vehicles should not add more noise to the soundscape. Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars installing The Rumbler, police should address the root problem–inconsiderate and illegal noisemakers.”
Czapala recommended strict enforcement of anti-boom car laws, as well as police impoundment of offending vehicles: “Many boom car drivers routinely pay fines for noise violations–which they consider normal expenses in their apparent quest to annoy and disturb others while drawing attention to themselves. Puny fines are not effective. Local governments need to pass stronger noise ordinances and make sure the laws are enforced. Vehicle impoundment programs–like the one in Peoria, Illinois–are having an impact and should be adopted elsewhere. Nothing sends a stronger message to noise bullies than taking away their vehicle.”
Mike Smith commented on the health effects of noisy vehicles–whether owned by the police or common thugs: “Over 30 million Americans are diagnosed as ‘hyper-sensitive’ to noise. Low-frequency noise is extremely upsetting and painful to that population. Some people become disoriented from a single short burst from a subwoofer. Exposure to unexpected bursts of low-frequency noise can put blind people in a panic.”
Noise Free America’s director, Ted Rueter, noted that “you cannot fight noise with more noise. The assault from The Rumbler’s low-frequency blasts will only add to an already noisy, out of control situation. Citizens around the country should demand that their police departments reject The Rumbler, and instead take strong action against noisemakers.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens organization opposed to noise pollution. Its web site is www.noisefree.org. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Echo Manufacturing, Congressman Darrell Issa, and Governor Jesse Ventura.