Woodward Avenue is host of the Annual Dream Cruise which draws thousands of car enthusiasts and their vehicles all summer long. Many of those vehicles make more noise than others and sometimes their owners do it purposely. They rev their loud engines and squeal their tires on the pavement to the amusement of those who appreciate and delight in their beautiful machines. Unfortunately, there are many residents that live close to Woodward and are disturbed by the vehicle noise. Some have a right to be upset because some of the vehicles, and their drivers, are in violation of the state vehicle noise ordinance. Many other vehicles are not in violation but people complain anyway.
City of Royal Oak’s Unlawful Ordinance
The City of Royal Oak, which is centrally located during the Dream Cruise, received complaints from these residents. They also heard complaints of the motorcycles that frequent downtown Royal Oak on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. In response to the complaints, in July of 2016 the city council passed a loud vehicles ordinance, under their disorderly conduct statute (Sec. 278-35(q), that states that any unreasonable noise that is plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet that disturbs the peace and quit of other persons is subject to a civil infraction and a fine. If, in the officer’s opinion, the noise causes “public danger, alarm, disorder or nuisance” the penalty is a misdemeanor and a fine up to $300. This ordinance is plain violation of the state law that states a vehicle shall not be operated on a highway with a speed limit greater than 35 miles per hour if the total noise exceeds 82 DBA at a distance of 50 feet. DBA means decibels on the a-weighted network or the decibels measured on the a-weighted network of a sound level meter as specified in American national standards institute standard S 1.4-1971. State law also plainly states that any city ordinance that is not identical to the state statute is unenforceable (MCL 257.707e(2).
The Royal Oak police have been issuing these tickets, unlawfully, on a regular basis. This office will soon find out exactly how many tickets have been issued but it is presently believed to be hundreds of times over the past 12 months. On August 2, 2017 I sent a letter to the Royal Oak City Attorney demanding that these violations cease being issued immediately. As of the date of this article, no response has been received. Further, I have been advised that the weekend of August 4, 2017 at least a few of these tickets were issued.
What to do if you received a ticket?
If you have recently received a ticket, call the court and ask for a formal hearing. At the hearing, if this matter has not been fully resolved by that time, advise the city attorney and judge, if necessary, that the ticket is in violation of state law MCL 257.707e(2) and the case will be dismissed. If you also received a defective equipment violation advise that there is no evidence of any defect in the equipment. When they cannot identify any defect that ticket will be dismissed too.
What my plans are to stop this madness immediately?
I am waiting for a response from the City Attorney. If I do not receive one or if the response is not satisfactory I will sue the City of Royal Oak demanding an immediate injunction keeping the city from issuing these unlawful infractions. I will do it this week if necessary which will force them to stop. When they do, all pending tickets will be automatically dismissed. When this happens I will let everyone know. Undoubtedly, the City will amend their ordinance and make it identical to state law which means the police will start being trained on what 82 DBA sounds like and start issuing tickets to those who exceed that noise level. That is what they should be doing, we just hope that they do so fairly, uniformly and legally. I will keep everyone updated.
Have you been ticketed for a loud vehicle violation on Woodward?
The City of Royal Oak has been unlawfully issuing loud vehicle violations to drivers on Woodward. Our office is going to put a stop to that today as we have written cease and desist letters to the city attorney and police chief. If you have been given a loud vehicle ticket in Royal Oak recently, please comment below to let us know. We want you to be heard! 👇👇👇
Posted by Law Offices of Barton Morris on Wednesday, August 2, 2017