December 1, 2002
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Madison: Viper car alarms has won December’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America, for manufacturing ear-splitting devices that deter nothing but a good night’s sleep.
Viper car alarms emit sirens that hit a painful 125 decibels. Noise expert Arline Bronzaft notes that “this is as loud as a jet or disco–and it’s blasting outside your window. Car alarms awaken people from their sleep, harm their quality of life, and get people agitated. Car alarms are especially annoying because there’s no evidence that they ward off thieves.”
Ted Rueter, director of Noise Free America, stated, “Who takes these poisonous, irritating devices seriously? Everyone’s first reaction to a car alarm is, ‘When is that idiot going to turn it off?’ Experts believe that 95 percent of car alarm soundings are false alarms.”
Indeed, a survey by the Progressive Casualty Insurance Company found that fewer than 1 percent of respondents would call the police upon hearing a car alarm. The Highway Loss Data Institute, an insurance industry think tank, examined the thefts of insured vehicles with and without car alarms, and concluded that car alarms had no effect.
Unfortunately, these frantic noisemakers are often subsidized by state governments. As a result of pressure by alarm-industry lobbyists, many state legislatures mandate that auto insurers offer 10 percent discounts to any policyholder with an alarm. “In effect, many states are promoting the growth of this civic toxin,” Rueter said.
Mark Huber, Noise Free America’s Communication Director, stated that “it’s understandable that people would want to protect their cars. But there are quieter, more effective alternatives. Manufacturer-installed immobilizers shut off your car’s ignition when someone with no key or without the right computer chip embedded on the key tries to start the car. These immobilizers reduce auto theft by 50 percent. Also, cars with the Lojack car-tracking system have a remarkable 95 percent recovery rate. Protecting your car doesn’t require irritating your neighbors.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens group dedicated to reducing noise pollution. Past “winners” of the award include Circuit City and West Hollywood. Noise Free America’s web site is http://www.noisefree.org.