A member of the Florida House of Representatives wants to make driving with a loud stereo a crime on the same level as driving with an open container of alcohol. State Representative D. Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) last month introduced House Bill 137 which modifies an existing loud stereo statute to double the cost of fines and make the offense a moving violation.
Current Florida law makes it unlawful to drive with a stereo "plainly audible" from twenty-five feet away or that is "louder than necessary for the convenient hearing by persons inside the vehicle" when driving past a church, school or hospital. Law enforcement officers are exempt as are politicians who use loud soundmaking devices for "political purposes." The typical fine is $78 with no points.
HB 137 would impose three license points and boost the fine to $180 for a third offense. The addition of points will serve as a boon to insurance companies which will collect significantly higher premiums from ticket recipients. The industry has already rewarded Hays $16,650 in political contributions since his election in 2004, including support for his run for the state Senate in 2010.
Although state law already imposes a specific fine for loud stereos, several municipalities have written their own civil ordinances in order to impose harsher punishments including sixty days in jail, a $500 fine and the potential for thousands in impound fees. Passage of the Hays bill would allow these cities to add license points to the list.
View a copy of HB 137 in a 75k PDF file at the source link below.
Source: House Bill 137 (Florida Legislature, 9/22/2009)