Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


`Turn that thing down!'

The law that makes it an offense for motorists to turn their car stereos into rolling concert halls that practically shake whole neighborhoods is back where it can again do some good - in the city's traffic code.

By taking the provision out of the criminal code, which only complicated matters for Toledo police officers, cops now will be able to cite offenders on the spot and turn down the volume on these booming sound machines.

You know the sound - sometimes you don't hear it as much as feel it.

The problem got so bad locally that in 1997 City Council moved the loud sound amplification law from the traffic code to the criminal code. Everybody thought that was a good idea at the time: we'd show those drivers - most of them young people - with the pounding car stereos that their amplified music was, well, criminal.

But the idea didn't work. With the law listed as a criminal offense, police were required to complete a crime report and an all-purpose citation. That took too much time, sometimes as long as an hour. Conversely an officer usually could write a traffic citation in 10 minutes or less when the law was under the traffic code.

So the well-intended change has been reversed. Now a driver whose car stereo can be heard more than 50 feet away once again runs the risk of a traffic citation within minutes.

It makes sense, and Toledoans can thank Toledo Police Lt. Paul Long for bringing the issue to Chief Mike Navarre's attention. More than 1,300 citations were issued in 1995 and 1996, the two years before the law was moved to the criminal section. But when the offense was shifted to the criminal code, only 533 citations were handed out between 1998 and 2001.

Fortunately, turning up the heat on those who turn up the volume has been made simpler again.

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