JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mixed reactions came pouring in from Jacksonville residents about a new noise ordinance that went into law on Friday.
Florida statue 316.3045 prohibits loud music that’s plainly audible within 25 feet. This law will allow law enforcement officers to give tickets to drivers playing music too loudly in their cars. The law will also allow officers to ticket drivers for playing music too loudly in areas around churches, schools or hospitals.
News4JAX spoke to residents about the new law and found people have differing opinions. In Riverside, some hope this will put an end to the “wild, all-night street parties,” while local activists worry it will lead to the disproportionate arrest of minority drivers.
In a video shared with News4JAX, a street party can be seen going on after 1 a.m. in Jacksonville’s Five Points area. More than 150 people were seen dancing to loud music in the streets. Neighbors said the music is so loud that it wakes them up at night.
“We’re hearing this incredibly loud, it’s shaking the windows of our house, it’s disturbing the neighborhood,” one resident said.
This neighbor, who doesn’t want to be identified, is hoping Florida’s new noise ordinance -- which went into effect Friday -- will give police the legal backing they need to shut these parties down. She said these out-of-control parties occur every Friday and Saturday night and have for the past several months.
“You’ve got people coming up and down this residential street at three in the morning, screaming and carrying on, the speakers sound like they are on the outside of the cars, they are that loud,” she said.
The new Florida statute allows law enforcement officers to ticket drivers who are playing music from their car loud enough to be heard 25 feet away from the vehicle.
While some are hoping it muffles loud music, Northside Coalition president Ben Frazier’s worried it will lead to unfair treatment.
“Our primary concern is the new loud music law may be enforced on a racially disproportionate basis by police officers who may prefer to listen to the loud music of country artist Garth Brooks, rather than Kanye West,” Frazier said.
Frazier said the new law is especially insensitive following the 2012 murder of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Davis was shot and killed by Michael Dunn at a Southside gas station following an argument over loud music. Frazier said the new law will give police a reason to harass local youth.
“It’s too much left here to an officer’s preference in terms of music, the way he/she enforces the law on one side of the town or the other,” Frazier said.
The new statute also specifies that sounds louder than necessary near locations like a church, a hospital, or a school will be considered punishable as a non-moving violation.
There are some exceptions to the new law, for example, vehicles used for business or political purposes will not be subjected to a fine.