New York City Council dealing with noisy car alarms

Quiet-List message from Aaron Friedman

After a quiet summer, the New York City Council is once again tackling the problem of car alarm noise. Here is the latest news:

1. Council members Liu and Moskowitz have met to combine their two car alarm bills (Int. 194 and 448) into one. This new version closely follows the Moskowitz bill, banning sale, installation, and use of car alarms. The major change: fines have been reduced to $50 for a first offense, going up to $350. This is a fantastic bill, as good as we could hope for. To see the previous version of the Moskowitz bill, click here:

www.council.nyc.ny.us/textfiles/Int%200448-2 003.htm

2. City Council staffers (under Speaker Miller's direction) are now working to polish the legal language of the bill, and to find a date for a second car alarm hearing. At first, they worried about interstate commerce issues, and also about the economic impact a ban would have on car alarm installers. To address these concerns, we put together two memos, available here:

www.transalt.org/press/testimony/030918caral arms.html

www.transalt.org/campaigns/caralarms/legala uthority.pdf

To make these points even more convincing, Drew Robertson is rounding up car alarm installers to come testify in support of a ban. So far, he has found half a dozen installers who understand that silent pagers and immobilisers will sell just as well as alarms - and that they can do a good business making the old systems silent.

3. The Council keeps promising to set a date for the second car alarm hearing; the latest rumor puts the hearing at the beginning of November. Moskowitz thinks that the testimony of regular New Yorkers will make or break this bill. We have a historic chance to improve this city - whatever plans you have, drop them and come show your support! As soon as I have the date and time for this hearing, I'll let you know.

4. Meanwhile, we're getting off the ground in other cities. Nate Hutcheson is starting an anti-alarm group in Chicago. The Hawaii State Legislature is considering a bill to regulate car alarms:

www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sessioncurrent/bills/hb1372_hd1_.htm

And the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse is joining with us to start local Silent Majority chapters in different parts of the country. Please send me an email if you want to get involved.

(As always, the latest car alarm news is available on the Silent Majority website: www.silentmajorityny.org/news/index.html )

Proposed car-alarm ban in Vancouver
Web-posted March 25, 2004, 04:33 PM PST (vancouver.cbc.ca/images/1x1trans.gif)

The Vancouver City Council has agreed to look into banning car alarms in the city. The idea was floated several weeks ago by Councillor Tim Stevenson. He says noisy alarms are a nuisance in his West End neighbourhood. Now, city staff will research the alternatives, including a possible bylaw. Vancouver police have argued that car alarms deter thieves, but Stevenson disputes that, and wants to see the research that proves car alarms are useful in reducing crime. "This will be a lengthy report, bringing up all the items that ICBC is raising, and then we can have a look at it," Stevenson says. "If it's a report that indicates that car alarms are in fact helpful or useful, well then, I'll back off and say, 'Fine. Continue on'." The idea doesn't make sense to everyone at City Hall. Councillor Peter Ladner says reducing crime isn't the point. He says the idea just won't work. "This is highly impractical. People drive in from some other municipality and what are we going to do, declare them illegal when they cross Boundary Road? If we wanted to deal with this, the proper way would be to deal with the noise implications rather than banning car alarms, because I don't see how it could possibly work." The city council is also asking for alternatives to an all-out ban. Councillor Tim Louis says silent alarms that alert only the owner might be the answer.

Right to Quiet Society Newsletter, Spring 2004
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