TRENTON – "Boom cars" carrying souped-up sound systems that blast music heard through neighborhoods could be seized and destroyed, under new legislation developed by a group of Democratic lawmakers from South Jersey.

The bill – S3047/A4686 – was proposed Thursday so hasn’t yet gotten scheduled for a hearing.

What is a boom car?

Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez, D-Camden, said neighborhoods need to be “protected against these roaring vehicles” – defined in the bill as ones in which the internal sound system is plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet away or more.

“The love for music is one thing most people share in common, including myself,” Cruz-Perez said. “However, drivers must have regard for the people and communities around them who may be affected by blaring sound systems.”

What would boom car law prohibit?

The bill would apply the same rules to boom cars as already provided for snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes operated in violation of state law.

For a first offense, a vehicle would be required to be impounded for at least seven days and could then be returned in exchange for a $500 fee, plus towing and storage costs. For subsequent offenses, the penalty would increase to an impoundment period of 14 days and a $750 fee, plus costs.

Vehicles not claimed within 30 days could be sold at a public auction.

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Municipalities could pass an ordinance declaring illegally operated boom cars – as they can for ATVs and dirt bikes – an immediate threat to the public health, safety and welfare and designate them as contraband subject to forfeiture. And such contraband could be disposed of or destroyed.

“Driving through communities blasting loud music demonstrates a total disregard for the residents who live there,” said Sen. James Beach, D-Camden. “This bill would allow for drivers and passengers to enjoy music at a responsible decibel without subjecting neighborhoods to obnoxiously loud sound systems.”

New Jersey affected by noise from Philadelphia

Sen. Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, said boom-car parties are common in Philadelphia and can be heard miles away on both sides of the Delaware River but that they also occur less frequently in New Jersey – and should have “real consequences.”

“It’s no secret that “boom car” parties have negatively affected the quality of life in towns up and down the Delaware River for years,” Singleton said. “Residents, even those miles away from the Delaware River, can feel the bass vibrating their homes, which torturously keeps them awake all night long.”

The proposed New Jersey law couldn't reach into another state to impound cars.

The companion bill is sponsored by Assemblyman William Spearman, D-Camden.

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Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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