If you’re one to drive around playing your music loud, you may want to avoid Florida (though you should probably avoid Florida anyway). NBC affiliate NBC 6 South Florida reports that a new state law went into effect on July 1 that could affect lots of drivers — especially those that like music.
The new law essentially makes playing loud music in your car illegal if the music can be heard from 25 feet away. This means that cop sitting behind you in traffic can ticket you if they hear your music from within their patrol car. The law gets stricter concerning places like schools and churches.
The law gets murky, though, when you get into it. The whole reason behind the law is the claim that drivers who are listening to music too loud can’t hear emergency vehicles. Of course, emergency vehicles are also exempt from the law. The gray area though is the portion of the law that exempts commercial or political “sound devices” (316.3045 subsection 3). This seems to mean that I’ll get ticketed for playing Kendrick Lamar too loudly, but some guy promoting his carpet cleaning business through a sound system or megaphone or a political candidate driving around with their speakers blaring “vote for me” wouldn’t get touched.
This has the potential to get ugly. Mind you, Florida lawmakers tried to enact a similar law back in 2012. But the state Supreme Court threw it out, saying that people have a right to play loud music and that the law was too intrusive. This law also opens the doors for lots of cops to bother people just because. Who’s to say they’re correct or not when saying you’re 25 feet away and they can hear you? It’ll be an excuse to pull someone over to find other violations.
As one frustrated person put on Facebook regarding the new law: “Are all departments going to have a device that registers the correct decibel level either at the time of complaint or witnessing the occurrence? Or are we going with tried, tested and true ‘Cop said it so it must be true?’”