Drivers beware of blasting loud music from cars in South Beach

Miami Beach noise crackdown on deafening music targets drivers

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – That relaxing slow drive on Ocean Drive, with the top down, and the blasting loud "Chevy Ridin High" will no longer be the same. A driver's refusal to lower the volume could be enough for an officer to make an arrest, according to the Miami Beach Police Department.  

Miami Beach police spokesman Officer Ernesto Rodriguez said police officers will be enforcing a Miami-Dade County code on drivers this weekend. 

"The use or operation on or upon the public streets, alleys and thoroughfares anywhere in this county for any purpose of any device known as a sound truck, loud speaker or sound amplifier or radio or any other instrument of any kind or character which emits therefrom loud and raucous noises," is prohibited, according to a Miami-Dade County ordinance. 

Drivers who refuse to lower the volume could be arrested and taken to jail, Rodriguez said.

"The goal is to increase public safety by continuing to enforce laws," Miami Beach police Deputy Chief Rick Clements said in a statement Friday morning.

City Manager Jimmy Morales said excessively loud music coming from vehicles "seriously diminish the visitor experience and must stop."

The effort to regulate noise in the party city could prove controversial. For decades, Miami Beach officials have attempted to regulate both noise and alcohol. Miami Beach commissioners amended a noise ordinance last year after weeks of feuding between residents and business owners in the entertainment district. 

"Unreasonably loud, excessive, unnecessary or unusual noise will result in a violation of the ordinance and possibly a fine if not promptly remedied," said the city's description of Code Compliance Department violations that could result in a fine

In 2012, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a state law telling drivers to turn down the volume unreasonably restricts free speech rights. The song at the center of the case's 2007 fine was Justin Timberlake's "Sexy Back." Sarasota officials fined drivers and impounded cars until the American Civil Liberties Union challenged them.  

Noise regulation has obsessed officials for over a century. The first anti-noise bill ratified by Congress was the 1907 Bennet Act regulating ships' horns and whistles. It prompted the first noise laws of New York City and Chicago. The federal Noise Control Act of 1972 took it a little further when it identified noise as a "controllable pollutant." 

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.