Metro council approves ordinance to tighten noise restrictions

Metro Council proposal would restrict how loud music can be played inside your car.
Metro Council proposal would restrict how loud music can be played inside your car.(WAFB)
Updated: Sep. 25, 2019 at 5:29 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - On Wednesday, Sept. 25, Baton Rouge’s metro council approved an ordinance to make restrictions about noise levels a bit tighter.

Previously, the noise ordinance stated:

“The playing of any radio, phonograph, tape, compact disc, musical instrument or any other machine or device capable of producing or reproducing sound, from a vehicle in such a manner, or with such volume, as to disturb the peace, quiet, comfort, or repose of persons in any dwelling, apartment, hotel, or other type of residence; of persons in any other vehicle; or of persons in any public place.”

The proposal, which was put forth by Councilwoman Erika Green, puts a specific decibel level on how loud your music can be before you are considered to be disturbing the peace.

Green’s proposal restricts noise “from a vehicle, on a public street, highway or public park” to 85 decibels, measurable from 25 feet away.

If you are found violating the proposed ordinance, you can be fined up to $200 and lose your driver’s license for up to 30 days on your first offense. That penalty goes up for each offense.

Baton Rouge Police Department Chief Deputy Jonny Dunnam says this will make enforcing noise violations far easier.

"That’s one of the reasons for the ordinance, to make it simpler, there to be some guidelines for the noise and having that decibel meter will make it a little easier for the officers to get that decibel reading,” Dunnam said.

BRPD officers will be equipped with decibel meters to get an accurate reading on how loud a noise is. Dunnam says the department will need to purchase about 500 meters for every officer to have one. He says the department is working to receive funds from metro council to cover the costs.

"It's a quality of life issue that we receive a lot of calls on and we just want to tighten up the law a little bit to make sure it's a little easily enforceable,” he said.

Not everyone was happy about the proposal though.

Mike Rusk owns Mike’s Audio on Airline Highway. He says restricting noise to 85 decibels means nearly everyone is breaking the law.

"Eighty-five decibels is equal to say a bicycle horn or a garbage disposal running in the background of your house,” Rusk said.

He says ultimately, it will be bad for his business.

"It’s only designed to hurt us, not help us. It has no bearing, it has no legitimacy at 85 decibels whatsoever,” he said.

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