Imagine this -- you're sitting in a park enjoying a nice meal with your family -- when all a sudden you hear a car with thumping bass coming down the road. Did you know that driver could actually get a ticket?
State law says you can be slapped with an $80 fine for driving or playing your car stereo too loud --and if it’s a second offense -- that ticket will cost you more than $150.
Among the car stereos and subwoofers at Best Buy, we caught up with Dave Wiltgen. And we asked him if he was aware of the state's loud music law. He says, “Nothing surprised me anymore.”
He may not be surprised -- but he asked a lot of questions voiced by others we talked to. He says, “What's the purpose? How loud is too loud? If you have good hearing I mean I don't get it who decides it it’s too loud?”
Eau Claire Police say if you can hear the car music from 75 feet away -- that means – it’s too loud. Officers say they use a laser to measure the 75 foot distance.
While it's easy to see the frustration of some loud music lovers -- the law is not disdained by everyone. While shopping at Best Buy Kathy Mohr says, “I think it's a good thing, I think sometimes that music gets really loud, very distracting.” Roger Wood the owner of Woods Electronics in Eau Claire says, “If you want loud music that's your privilege, but you don't have to give it to your next door neighbor.”
Wood has been working with car electronics since the 1960's --and has heard his share of big booms, “First thing teenagers do when they get in the car, turn the base up and the treble down.”
Wood says he's seen a lot of requests for loud mufflers and even louder stereo systems, and respects them all -- but at the same time understands the state's law. He says, “You should be able to buy anything you want or put anything you want in your car, but you still have to be within the law.”
Eau Claire Police say loud music is distracting to both the driver and the passengers- --so distracting that they often can't hear sirens, horns or other warnings.