Can you get a ticket for driving with loud music?

Many drivers have the habit of putting on the music as soon as they get into the car.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
24 August 2023 Thursday 10:26
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Can you get a ticket for driving with loud music?

Many drivers have the habit of putting on the music as soon as they get into the car. This seemingly innocuous gesture, which in most cases tends to be carried out automatically, allows them to feel more comfortable behind the wheel. In fact, the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) recognizes through its messages on social networks that "music is a good companion while we drive."

But the DGT itself, however, adds a tagline to this initial sentence. It adds that, while driving, it is best to listen to music at a "moderate volume" and encourages motorists to listen to rhythms that do not cause drowsiness, aggression or distraction, three factors that increase the risk of an accident. “At the wheel, better

Various studies suggest that listening to music at a high volume may increase the risk of having a traffic accident. Although there is no absolute consensus, it has been observed that loud noise in the vehicle can have negative effects on the driver's concentration and ability to react.

A study by the University of St. John's in Newfoundland (Canada) has concluded that drivers who listen to music at high volume have a 20% higher risk of having a traffic accident. The report indicates that the excess of decibels can have negative effects on the concentration and the reaction capacity of the person driving.

In addition, it has been shown that loud music can negatively affect the auditory perception of the driver. Excessive noise can make it difficult to hear outside sounds, such as emergency sirens from ambulances and police and fire vehicles, as well as other vehicle horns or warnings of danger.

On the other hand, a report published in the Journal of Safety Research in 2016 found that loud music in the car was linked to a greater tendency to exceed speed limits and commit traffic violations.

Despite the evidence, the General Traffic Regulations do not implicitly refer to the volume to be played in the car. On the other hand, it does establish -in its article 18.2- the prohibition of "driving and using helmets or headphones connected to receiving devices or sound reproducers", except in the case of applicants to obtain a motorcycle license in the time to perform open circuit aptitude tests.

Even so, no driver escapes the possibility of being fined for playing loud car music. One of the aspects that municipal ordinances usually regulate is the level of noise allowed in different situations. This refers to noise produced by vehicles, including loud music in the car. The decibel limits established in municipal ordinances may vary from one city to another, but generally 87 dB of maximum power is taken as a barrier.

Sanctions vary depending on what is established by local regulations, so it will depend on the specific case. The fines are very different and range from 100 euros to 3,000 euros, according to various media.

Some European countries, such as Switzerland and France, are experimenting with a new measure to control the level of noise on the roads. It involves the implementation of noise radars that aim to detect vehicles that emit more noise than allowed by current regulations.

These noise cameras work in a similar way to speed cameras. But instead of measuring the speed of the vehicles, they focus on capturing the level of noise they generate.