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The bill was introduced by Councilmember Mark Squilla. Photo: Pixabay
The bill was introduced by Councilmember Mark Squilla. Photo: Pixabay

Philadelphia drivers may soon be ticketed for their cars being too loud

A bill regarding the matter was introduced this week at a committee hearing.

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Last Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, a hearing was held by the Philadelphia City Council Committee on Streets and Services that led to discussion on drivers in Philly.

The discussions revolved in part around whether or not drivers in the city play their car stereos and speakers at too high of a volume, and what can be done to eliminate potential disturbances. 

A bill was introduced that would disallow sound coming from a motor vehicle at “five decibels above background level,” as measured from a distance of 25 feet or greater.

Councilmember Mark Squilla introduced the bill, later stating that the bill would not profile individual motorists.  

If passed, the bill would usher in an enforcement procedure that utilizes sound-measuring devices in addition to cameras. 

While loud music emanating from vehicles appears to be a focus, the devices would pick up and issue violations for mufflers and engines that also exceed the permitted volume.

These sound-measuring devices would be constructed to detect sounds and volumes that are above the permitted level of five decibels “above background level.” 

The procedure would allow law enforcement the means to identify drivers who were playing music too loud, or whose vehicles were too loud for other reasons.

If the bill is approved, the city would need a contract and vendor(s) who may supply the proposed sound-measuring devices.

Fines for violations are expected to be $100, sent out by mail.

Francis Healy — Special Advisor to the Police Commissioner — believes the process would issue violations efficiently and lower physical altercations between motorists, all without having to involve direct police interaction.

Healy called loud noise emanating from vehicles a “quality-of-life issue that affects the quality of life in neighborhoods.” 

Some are arguing that these devices could also provide evidence of drivers who broke traffic laws by either driving on a sidewalk or driving in the wrong direction.

So far, a suburb in Paris has tested a similar procedure to the one proposed by Squilla. A Manhattan lawmaker also proposed a similar procedure this past Summer.

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