Most weird laws are vestiges from simpler times—throwbacks to an era when it probably made sense to outlaw wrestling with a bear or putting on a puppet show in a window. But Floridians are now being faced with a very real and seemingly arbitrary law that stands a good chance of annoying residents and police officers alike.
According to Bay News 9, a new Florida statute is set to go into effect on Friday, July 1 that will prohibit car occupants from turning up their radio loud enough to be heard from 25 feet away. The statute also prohibits loud music from a car from being played near churches, hospitals, or schools.
The move is an attempt to crack down on people blaring car stereos, which some fellow drivers, passersby, or home occupants may consider a public nuisance.
“From a safety standpoint, [a driver] might not hear the ambulance, the police car, the fire truck that's trying to get through the intersection," Lieutenant Mike Crabb told WESH.com. “We're not trying to target somebody [who's] just trying to listen to music and have a good time, but there is a limit to the noise that you can create from your vehicle.”
Some legal experts in the state have expressed concern the statute might simply be a pretext to pull someone over. An earlier version of the law was struck down by the state's Supreme Court in 2012 in large part because it exempted vehicles with business or political messages, creating First Amendment arguments; the revised statute now makes no exemptions for business or political vehicles.
It's also attached to a larger bill targeting pop-up beach parties, a recent trend in the state that's led to numerous cars congesting in one area. If a car is ticketed during one of these "unsanctioned" parties, officers have the leeway to impound a car for up to three days.
Car stereo enthusiasts have had a predictably negative reaction to the news, writing on social media that the statute is “dumb,” “lame,” and “bullsh-t.” The dumb, lame, and bullsh-t citation will run $114.
[h/t Bay News 9]