The Evanston Human Services Committee Monday approved an ordinance that would increase fines 500 percent for people who have overly loud car stereo systems.

The change would raise the minimum fine for violating the ordinance from $10 to $100 and raise the maximum fine from $50 to $500.

The committee dropped a provision sought by the sponsor of the ordinance, Ald. Anjana Hansen, 9th Ward, that would have given police the power to tow the cars of people caught violating the ordinance, after Ald. Steve Bernstein, 4th Ward, said that as the parent of teenagers he thought that was too severe.

Any sound system that can be heard more than 75 feet from the car would be a violation under the ordinance.

Evanston police have issued about 30 tickets a year under an existing state car noise statute.

Only Ald. Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, voted against the measure. He said he’d prefer an ordinance that targeted only the most offensive big bass speaker systems that shake resident’s windows, rather than all car noise. He added that he only gets about one noise complaint a year from constituents.

Committee approval came on a 4-1 vote. With the support of Ald. Hansen, who’s not a commitee member, the proposal has enough votes to win final approval from the full City Council.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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3 Comments

  1. Pass tougher car noise ordinance
    I am thrilled that the ordinance enacting tougher penalties for loud car stereos is going to be brought before the entire City Council. As a homeowner living on a street frequented by cars with loud stereos, I believe this ordinance is an important step toward making my neighborhood a quieter, more appealing place to live. I thus urge each alderman to vote in favor of this measure, even if they don’t perceive this to be a problem in their own ward.

    I also urge our police officers to vigorously enforce this law once the Council approves it. If these new measures are enacted, it could result in greatly improved quality of life for many citizens of Evanston.

    1. Car noise ordinance bad idea
      I am against the car noise ordinance. As a resident of the 9th ward, yes, there is some car noise from loud speakers at night, but I consider this part of living in a city. Most people just drive by, and then the noise is gone. Are there hours that the ordinance will be in effect? Isn’t there a difference between loud car music that shakes windows at 2am and loud music coming out of a car with the windows down in the summer at noon? This ordinance will set a ridiculous precedent–when will it stop? Should I bother our police force with calls about loud neighbors every Friday and Saturday night? Or should I just get some earplugs? I can’t believe we’re going to ask our police force to enforce another law that has nothing to do with safety. This is another example of a few loud complainers making policy for Evanston.

      1. noise ordinance
        The people who have to listen to these subcutaneous cretans suffer the annoyance. The worst part is that these loud levels will damage the car occupants hearing and they will be an even further menace then.

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