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Hawaii Drops Car Audio Ban For Now

Honolulu – A
Hawaii state legislative committee has “indefinitely deferred” a proposal to
ban the installation and ownership of aftermarket car stereo systems with
speakers of more than 6.5 inches in height or depth, with five or more
speakers, and with speakers rated at more than 100 watts.

 The House assembly transportation committee
doesn’t expect to hold any more hearings on the topic, which was introduced to
assuage residents annoyed by loud car audio systems. The legislature’s current
session ends Feb 18.

 More than 200 people, including dealers, came
out to oppose the measure, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

 “The proposed legislation would have
negatively impacted Hawaiian businesses and eliminated jobs just as the state
is emerging from the worst recession in recent memory,” said Michael Petricone,
the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) government affairs senior VP. “It
also would have cost the state significant tax revenues generated through the
sale and installation of aftermarket speakers and subwoofers.”

CEA “supports the
responsible use of consumer electronics in a safe listening environment,” he
continued. “As Hawaii properly recognized, enforcement of existing noise-ordinance
statutes is preferable to banning an entire class of legal technology

Said Kenwood
senior VP Keith Lehmann: “What a relief.”

The House hasn’t
scheduled hearings yet on another bill that would ban the installation of car
security systems that emit an audible sound beginning Jan. 1, 2012. Current
owners of sound-emitting security systems would also have to disable their
existing alarms. With the legislative session ending later this month, however,
it doesn’t seem likely the proposal will come up for a vote in the current

 The bill would also fine owners up to $100 if their
car security systems emit a sound “for any period.” Fines would go up to $240
for a fourth offense in five years and up to $500 for a sixth offense in five

 The controversies harken back to the 1980s and
1990s when multiple states and municipalities considered proposals, which
subsequently failed, to limit the types of car audio products that could be
installed to reduce noise levels in neighborhoods. The first such effort
occurred in Jersey City, N.J.

New York City also
considered regulating the sale and use of car alarms in the 1990s.