Turn it up! Supreme Court considers car volume bill

Feb 9, 2012

Florida’s Supreme Court Justices are hearing oral arguments against a Florida law that limits how loudly car stereos can legally be played. Regan McCarthy reports some say the rule is unconstitutional.

Florida law says a car’s stereo cannot be “plainly audible” by someone 25 or more feet away. Richard Catalano was ticketed in 2007 for blaring Justin Timberlake on his way to work.  Catalano, a lawyer, represented himself in court. He says the law violates his right to free speech. But the lawyer representing the state, Tim Osterhaus, says the law ensures safety on the road.

So the driver can hear, in that cockpit, that the  music isn’t turned up so loud, that the driver can hear emergency vehicles, or what’s going on around them.”

The law does not apply to vehicles used for political speech. Osterhaus argues those vehicles are safer because they typically drive more slowly and direct their sound outward. The court will consider the arguments before making a ruling.