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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Playing Your Radio Too Loud In New Jersey Could Cost You $750 And Two Points On Your License

If you like cranking up the tunes, you might want to steer clear of New Jersey as a bill is making its way through the legislature that could bring hefty fines and even points on your driving record.

The latest version of the bill was approved by all seven members of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee, and establishes penalties for a person who commits a “motor vehicle noise violation.”

While noise violations are typically aimed at exhaust systems, the bill targets individuals blasting music.  Those found playing music too loud would be subject to an increasingly stiff series of punishments.  In particular, a first offense would result in a $250 (£203 / €230) fine and that would increase to $500 (£406 / €459) for a second offense.  People convicted three or more times would be hit with a $750 (£609 / €689) fine as well as two points on their record.

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 Playing Your Radio Too Loud In New Jersey Could Cost You $750 And Two Points On Your License

That’s not pocket change, but an earlier version of the bill was far more aggressive.  That was immediately clear as its synopsis said it “provides for impoundment of nuisance motor vehicles and allows municipalities to seize and, in certain circumstances, destroy vehicles.” 

The bill targeted so-called “boom cars” and defined them as a “nuisance motor vehicle” if “sound is plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet (15.2 meters) or more.”  In that version of the bill, a first offense would see a $500 (£406 / €459) fine and the vehicle being impounded for “not less than seven days.”  To rub salt into the wound, the owner would also be on the hook for “reasonable towing and storage costs.”

For a second or subsequent offense, the fee would have jumped to $750 (£609 / €689) and the vehicle would be kept for no less than two weeks with storage costs quickly adding up.

 Playing Your Radio Too Loud In New Jersey Could Cost You $750 And Two Points On Your License

If drivers failed to pay within 30 days, their car could have been sold at auction.  That raised the possibility of someone potentially losing their vehicle for playing the music a little loud.

Thankfully, common sense prevailed and Assemblyman Bill Spearman told the New Jersey Monitor, “We’re not going to take somebody’s $60,000 (£48,680 / €55,108) car because they’re playing the music too loud. That’s crazy.” He went on to say the bill is aimed at cars driving through “neighborhoods at three or four in the morning” blasting music so loud it “literally makes your windows shake.”

Besides removing language that allowed for vehicles to be seized, sold and destroyed, the publication noted the amended bill has become more closely aligned with the Noise Control Act.  That appears to have nixed the 50 feet (15.2 meters) distance standard for a 50 decibel rating between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

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