Can noise ordinance proposed by the commissioners be enforced?

Published 9:29pm Wednesday, December 11, 2013

There are few things more American than your favorite music playing on your car stereo, but there’s a certain point where that freedom steps over a line and becomes a disturbance to people driving beside you or living in the houses you pass by.

There are noise ordinances in place in the cities of Orrville and Selma, but several members of the Dallas County Commission believe it’s time there is a similar ordinance in place throughout the entire county.

District 4 commissioner Larry Nickels said he has heard plenty of complaints from Orrville residents, and he believes a strong ordinance — one that carries fines for the offender — would help to combat the noisy situation.

“At 12 o’clock at night you hear boom, boom, boom, you don’t know if it’s a storm, somebody has run into your house, shots being fired or what,” Nickels said during a commission meeting this week. “I’ve had several Orrville residents call me last week about it. Not only is the noise terrible, but the language is terrible.”

The noise ordinance being considered by the commissioners wouldn’t go in to effect until it is passed by the Alabama Legislature.

Even if it were passed, it raises a larger question; how would it be enforced?

We applaud the commission for seeking this legislation, but with all of the time and effort that would go into its creation and hopeful approval, we hope there is a plan in place for how it could be effectively enforced.

Legislation like this can sometimes be viewed by the public as “feel good” legislation — something that vows to fight a certain wrong on paper, but struggles, or is unable to do so in reality.

We have all experienced that 2 a.m. wake-up to music thumping from the speakers of a car stopped at the red light in front of our house, but by the time an officer responds to the 911 call, the offender is likely miles away providing the same unwanted wake-up call to a different neighborhood.

We’ve all also been on our phone, sitting at a red light that seems as if it will never change, while the car beside has its music playing at the maximum volume it will go.

Unfortunately, Dallas County consists of 975 square miles of winding roads for the Dallas County Sheriffs to patrol and for noise ordinance offenders to evade them.

This is a real problem that needs a real solution.

Obviously, the ultimate responsibility falls on each and everyone of us to think of the rest of the living (or sleeping) world before we crank the car stereo up to a high volume.

What the commission is trying to do is to protect the rights of their citizens and send a message to the noisiest of offenders, and for that they should be thanked. Who in their right mind would oppose this? Nobody we know.

We just simply hope there is a plan in place to enforce such legislation.

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