My hearing isn’t what it used to be, but this was ridiculous.
A few days ago I was driving north on U.S. 41 and slowed for traffic stopping at the light at 53rd Avenue West.
Moments later somebody’s sound system was pounding my pickup.
I couldn’t tell whether it was coming from the car in front of me or behind.
It was thundering.
The driver had to have been stone deaf.
Lord knows we all come across motorists whose wheels seem to be powered by subwoofer systems and they’re aggravating.
This was overkill.
What brings it to mind is an ongoing Florida Supreme Court case involving a Clearwater attorney, who, then in his late 40s, was pulled over and ticketed in 2007.
His car stereo was too loud, the officer said.
He was also playing a song by Justin Timberlake -- definitely a violation for a grown man.
Since then he has successfully fought the ticket through the lower courts that have agreed the state noise law is constitutionally vague.
The law bans noise from a motor vehicle that is plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more and permits police to pull over the offending motorist.
The objective of the law is safety, to ensure a motorist can hear what’s going on around them, especially emergency vehicles on the way to a call.
Seems reasonable, right?
Not to this individual, who said the law violates his right to free speech.
What about our right to some peace of mind? Not to mention an assault on our hearing.
Sure, I like to crank up the stereo every once in awhile, but that’s the stereo at home.
If I do it with the truck’s radio -- and that’s infrequently -- my windows are up.
Besides, I mostly listen to sports talk radio when I’m driving and when those guys start to scream, I simply change the station. I don’t enjoy listening to that.
Nor do I enjoy being blasted by somebody’s four-wheeled boombox.
Too bad I just can’t turn that off.
Which is why the state noise law offers us some recourse.
It may not be easy to enforce all the time, but at least it’s there. Who knows for how long?
Judging by the traction this Clearwater attorney’s case has gotten in the lower courts, the state’s supreme court could go right along with them and the state noise law would be history.
It wouldn’t be the end of civilization, but it’d sure sound like it.
Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 941-745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL. 34206 or e-mail him at email@example.com. Please include a phone number for verification purposes.