Turn It Down, or Risk Being Towed

Like your music loud? Careful—a change to Oak Forest's towing ordinance could land you car-less and stranded.

Windows down, hair blowing in the breeze, favorite band filling your car with tunes as you cruise the neighborhood—all's good until someone hears it from 75 feet away. 

aldermen Tuesday approved an amendment to its seizure and impoundment ordinance, stating that drivers playing music that can be heard from 75 feet away are at risk of towing. 

Ald. Rich Simon recently approached Chief Greg Anderson about drivers whose music shakes his windows as they roll by. At an Aug. 28 city council meeting, Anderson asked aldermen to consider revising the city's towing ordinance to include music "disruptive to the peace and tranquility of a community."

Ald. Dan Ensing disputed the revision, noting the degree of violations presently enforced with towing:

  • Possession or delivery of a controlled substance
  • DUI
  • Driving while license suspended or revoked
  • No valid license
  • Unlawful use of a weapon
  • Retail theft
  • Aggravated assault, aggravated battery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, criminal damage to property, or other forcible felony. 

"This ordinance gives us the ability to seize and impound. So we could take a car away from somebody, and make it the city's own, and sell it auction, all because a person's stereo is too loud," Ensing said.

Anderson rebutted Ensing's point, clarifying that a person can post a $500 bond and get their car back immediately. The city does not intend to keep the cars, Anderson said. However, if the person cannnot afford to pay the impound fee, Anderson said he was unsure of what would happen.

The amendment banks on an Illinois statute dealing with sound amplification systems, stating that no driver within the state shall operate or permit operation of a sound amplification system which can be heard from the specified distance. 

Officers could position him or herself on a corner and observe drivers from the specific distance, listening for loud music, Anderson said. The revision does not apply only to sound amplification systems—but to any music.

"I think once the word gets out that we have approved this tough ordinance, a lot of this stuff will cease on its own," said Ald. Rich Simon. 

Officers would use their discretion to determine the repercussion, based on the severity of the offense. 

"It's a relatively minor offense, and the officers are often paying attention to more important things," Anderson said. 

Aldermen present voted 5-to-1 in favor of the revision, with Ald. Ensing dissenting. 

Jim McBob November 14, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Go find a life while you're at it Mr. B.S.
Tired of the B.S. November 14, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Jim McBob Why is it too bad for me? I don't have an insanely loud stereo system in my car . I will never have to worry about my car being impounded for a noise violation. If you had some common sense, you would see that this is just another way to tax people. I don't have this problem in my neighborhood, mostly because my neighbors and I will and have stopped the loud cars and let the drivers know that we don't allow that in our neighborhood. We don't call the police, they have better things to do. Maybe you should try being more of a man and quit whining like a little girl.
Jim Peterman November 15, 2012 at 03:17 AM
JMB you missed the point. They should address noise issues at night, not during the day. If you want it quiet 24/7, you should have not moved to a suburb of Chicago but maybe a little farther away like on a farm. 75 feet is not that far either. I can hear the quietest of cars going down the street from my backyard just from the noise their tires make on the roadway.
Tired of the B.S. November 15, 2012 at 04:26 AM
@jim mcbob I already have a wonderful life. I think you are an angry person that has to come here to feel important. You have done noting but whine about things that you will never do anything about and make empty threats about taking down license plate numbers to give to the police. Guess what, the police cannot impound a car because you give them a plate number, that is not how it works. It is people like you that can ruin a neighborhood with your little girl whining. Why don't you actually do something about this horrible problem that you seem to have instead of just complaining and making idle threats.
george March 02, 2013 at 10:18 AM
Well maybe we as the rightous can put out spike strips, and attack these kids and beat them up. Maybe the police can put up road blocks and make people turn there radios all the way up, seize all the cars, then get money from the cab companies to drive them home. Next house parties, then I dont like his kind in my neighborhood. All the "good" people can wear um arm band so we know whos good.


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