Michael Wright, an anti-noise activist from Norman, Oklahoma, drafted this resolution to be adopted by the state senate and presented to the Oklahoma Attorney General. As of March 1999, he is seeking sponsorship from his state senators. Mr. Wright encourages readers to advocate for a product liability lawsuit in their own states. He may be contacted by email at: MPWright9@aol.com
A resolution requesting the State Attorney General to investigate the feasibility of a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturers and marketers of equipment for excessively loud auto stereos.
WHEREAS, hearing impairment is America's most prevalent chronic illness, with an estimated 28 million cases; and
WHEREAS, federal health experts believe that 10 million cases of hearing impairment have been caused by excessive noise; and
WHEREAS, the US National Institutes of Health have recognized the urgency of this problem by having organized the National Institute on Deafness and Other Commmunication Disorder; and
WHEREAS, in the 1970s noise was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a source of stress and a risk factor for coronary heart disease; and
WHEREAS, numerous municipalities have ordinances which prohibit or restrict the operation of loud auto stereos, commonly known as "boom cars"; and
WHEREAS, research has demonstrated that loud auto stereos impair drivers in responding to objects appearing in peripheral vision; and
WHEREAS, drowsiness associated with sleep deprivation now accounts for no less than 200,000 annual auto accidents; and
WHEREAS, Prestige Audio has boasted in printed advertising that "excessively loud car stereos are the number one annoyance to people over 40"; and
WHEREAS, Prestige Audio has also advertised its products with the boast that "they will put the over-40 set into cardiac arrest"; and
WHEREAS, "Gangsta rap" recordings are commonly used to create the annoying audio effects desired by "boom car" operators; and
WHEREAS, the National Political Congress of Black Women has asked its followers to boycott "gangsta rap" because of its promotion of violence, pornography, and misogyny; and
WHEREAS, government attorneys have been effective in the pursuit of product liability claims against tobacco companies; and
WHEREAS, effective product liability litigation has also been waged against gun manufacturers; and
WHEREAS, through its own advertising claims, Prestige Audio has confirmed that its products not only present a public health hazard but are actually intended to cause injury and health catastrophes;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE [ETC]:
THAT the Oklahoma Legislature calls upon the State Attorney General of Oklahoma to begin exploring immediately the feasibility of a product liability lawsuit naming as defendants those manufacturers and marketers of electronic audio equipment and speakers intended for use in automobiles and commonly operated by purchasers to produce sound levels audible beyond a radius of 30 feet from the source; and
THAT Oklahoma municipalities with noise ordinances prohibiting or restricting the operation of loud auto stereos be encouraged to engage in vigorous enforcement efforts against the operators of such equipment; and
THAT Oklahoma municipalities lacking such ordinances be encouraged to enact and vigorously enforce them.
THAT copies of this resolution be distributed [etc.] .
1. The estimate of 28 million hearing impaired Americans with 10 million cases caused by excessive noise appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association, June 20, 1990 (Vol 263, No. 23), p. 3185.
2. The EPA's recognition of noise as a source of stress and risk for coronary heart disease was published in its August 1978 booklet NOISE: A HEALTH PROBLEM.
3. Research regarding peripheral vision impairment was reported by Laura Spinney in New Scientist July 19, 1997 (Vol. 155, No. 2091).
4. The problem of sleep deprivation and auto accidents is reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association March 24/31, 1993 (Vol. 269, No. 12), p. 1548.
5. The Prestige Audio ad was published in Car Stereo Review October 1997.
6. Call (301) 562-8000 for more information about the National Political Congress of Black Women.