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Turn Down That Car Stereo!

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Turn Down That Car Stereo!

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
June 19, 2008

Are you fed up yet with the loud car stereos? You know - those loud, thumping, bass sounds that rattle your windows, when you are inside your home and watching TV, listening to the radio, or just trying to have some conversation with another family member?

Or when you are sitting at a traffic light, and the jerk in the car alongside you has his stereo cranked waaaaaay up?

The police could do something about it. They can do something about it. But will they do something about it?

Any citizen can call the police department to complain about loud (amplified) car stereo sounds. And, what is nice about the way that the traffic law is written, the cops can do something about it without a signed complaint from a citizen and without the citizen's having to go to court against the violator.

In the Illinois Vehicle Code is Section 625 ILCS 5/12-611. "No driver of any motor vehicle within this State shall operate or permit operation of any sound amplification system which can be heard outside the vehicle from 75 or more feet when the vehicle is being operated upon a highway" (street)... The fine is up to $50.00. This is a motor vehicle law, fully enforceable by police officers and deputy sheriffs.

So, if you live on a street, say Dean St. or South St. or Lake Ave. or about any other street in Woodstock and if you are annoyed by inconsiderate drivers with vehicles with loud sound "systems", call the police department. Report the vehicle and give as good a description as you can. Or email policedept@woodstockil.gov and provide as much information as you can: vehicle make, model, color. License plate number, if you can get it (like, if you are working in your front yard). Location, date, time and any other information. Then ask the police to cite the driver the next time they observe his loud radio.

And, if there is a particular recurring problem with the same vehicle in your neighborhood and if you can't (or don't want to) work it out with the driver, then you can file a Complaint with the police department. In this case, you will have to be able to identify the driver, at least by physical description, and you will have to go to court as the complaining witness.

Wouldn't it be nice if Woodstock City Council authorized posting of some Quiet Zone signs around town? Good places for them would be around the Square, near the Alexandria House and Bundling Board bed-and-breakfast inns, and other places. They could be portable, so that the Community Service Officer could move them around - sort of like the radar speed trailer.

The only requirement is to know how far 75 feet is. Pace it off. Or measure the length of your car and figure out how many car lengths is 75 feet. It's not very far.

There is no reason we need to be battered by these stereos. Some of them are just a little loud. Then there are those that are LOUD.

We've got to decide who is going to run Woodstock. The law-abiding residents or the lawless. Is this a problem in your neighborhood?

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