State Seeks to Slash and Burn Car Audio

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Imagine that you couldn’t sell a speaker larger than 6.5 inches or that could produce more than 100 watts of power, or you couldn’t sell any system with more than 4 speakers. Dealers in Hawaii are facing legislation that would ban all of the above.

Hawaii Seeks to curtail car audioThe bill goes before a State legislature committee tomorrow, Wednesday, February 9. Without opposition from local retailers, one local lawyer said it could easily pass and severely curtail the auto sound business in Hawaii.

The bill would specifically ban the installation, ownership or use of any car with aftermarket speakers over 6.5 inches in height or depth, any 5 speaker aftermarket system, any aftermarket speaker over 100 watts and any aftermarket speaker installed external to the passenger compartment or in an open hatch back. (All of these bans exclude OEM systems). The bill seeks to impose a fine of up to $250 for each violation. It could go into effect immediately if approved by the House Transportation Committee on Wednesday.

Hawaii car stereo dealers are encouraged to attend the hearing on the bill HB 1178 on Wednesday at 9:00AM in House conference room 309 and to contact your fellow retailers.

Update: You can submit comments on the bill by emailing [email protected]

Source: CEoutlook

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  1. How hypocritical, the cops that would write these tickets to us have lifted trucks with sound systems bigger than any of us. Just another way to make their quota of tickets for the week…

  2. After reading all of these posts it would seem that we should all be more involved in state and local laws that concern our industry. It would also seem logical to support manufacturers who are putting there time and money out to support us in these types of issues. I notice [email protected] is doing that. I hope MERA will have a big role in this too as our industry voice.

  3. These law makers need a wake up call. Try to pass a law that can not be enforced because all that would happen would be the internet sales would go up. No more taxes for Hawaii on those sales. If you believe that everyone is going to the dealership to replace a speaker then I want to sell you the bridge I just built to the mainland. You law makers better hope that the car dealers paid you enough to retire because you are out next term. Unemployment is high and the Governor of Hawaii needs money to keep his office open and you jerks think this is the important issue to the people of Hawaii. You would close 30 stereo shops my guess putting at lest 150 Hawaii voters out of a job. Not much but there are not enough jobs and each one that votes on this bill should be in that unemployment line with this group of shop owners employees and sales reps that sell to all these shops. You can sum this bill up in one word STUPID!
    One other thing you should know. I’m over 50 not a teen age boom box owner. I think they should try this…………………………………………………………
    Enforce the law on sound and go after the problem and try working on the problems of the State of Hawaii that are issues like finding ways to create jobs.

  4. I feel for this. I love car audio and bass, but for my own listening pleasure. I think it would be similar to say “Ban all aftermarket exhausts and pipes” because they are too loud (to some). I think Harley’s are loud too, so what’s the big deal? Attack those who abuse it, not who just use it.

  5. This is not only an attack on consumers\’ rights, but an attack on small business in Hawaii, which will open up more internet sales and grey market sales. The State will also lose the state taxes that are now being charged and paid for by the existing Car audio dealers. As in other bills, there was not much thought put in to draft this bill.

  6. This is ridiculous! I can’t believe that someone would even approach this as a law. America was built on free speech and and the right to have what one individual wants. If that is the case than this is as illegal. As Bill Gates having the money he does and not donating any of it to the needy. However you think that the fact that we work hard to have a nice car stereo system is a crime. Hey while your at it tell Lamborghini that they can’t make cars that go 200mph and that Harley Davidson needs to stop making motorcycles loud. By the way both are dangerous and disruptive to normal life yet no one says anything about it. You only target us the people who also work hard for our little slice of freedom.

  7. We in Hawaii already have a noise ordinance which addresses the loud noises from vehicles (Sec. 41-31.1 Revised Ordinances of Honolulu), and I believe they do enforce this law. I’m not sure on the exact wording or penalties under this ordinance. If they are trying to tackle a noise issue with H.B. 1178, they are going about it in the wrong way, I wish these Legislators would consult with some of us in the car audio industry, before introducing these ridiculous bills.

  8. If dealers wish to combat this law aimed at equipment they have to acknowledge a problem with the misuse of mobile sound systems. Once the problem with misuse (you know what I mean) is recognized, then collectively you can try to address the problem. Most people have had enough with the boom-boom moving down the street making someone’s little Honda sound like the back window is rattling in the frame. Step up and take responsibility for being a part of the problem and work with legislators to solve the noise pollution problem.

  9. are they also trying to put a ban on the car stereo’s also?
    just wait till those same morons have to have their radios
    replaced cause part of it ceased to function.
    there will be no car audio shops to perform this work because
    of being driven out of business.
    then they will be crying out their wallets when they have
    to pay stealership pricing and labor for their needs.
    they often sell produsts that are sub-standard to aftermarket
    and they sell it at 4-10 times more than aftermarket.

  10. Just found another Hawaii bill that was introduced, H.B. 63, that will make having an auto alarm system make any noise prohibited. Here is their brief description : Prohibits installation of audible vehicle alarm systems beginning 1/1/2012. Requires audible motor vehicle alarm systems to be uninstalled or disabled by 1/1/2012. Exempts authorized emergency vehicles.
    Do these Legislators have nothing better to do, or do they get a prize for the most outlandish bills the can propose. You would think they would consult with some of us locally in the industry. These two introduced bills HB 1178 and HB 63 are making by blood boil (that’s to put it in nice terms)

  11. February 8, 2011

    House of Representatives
    Twenty-Sixth Legislature, 2011
    State of Hawaii

    To Whom It May Concern,

    We at Kenwood USA Corporation received a copy of H.B.1178 (relating to vehicle audio equipment) and are extremely concerned over the restrictions on the installation of aftermarket car audio products outlined in the bill. While the intentions of the bill might be to limit the disruptive operation of such aftermarket equipment by a small minority of users, we believe the negative consequences of the bill would be excessive.

    The arbitrary restrictions placed on the installation of aftermarket car audio products at a time of economic recession are puzzling given the fact that most car audio merchants are small business entrepreneurs employing hundreds of tax-paying Hawaii citizens. Enforcement of this bill will put dozens of entrepreneurs out of business in a discriminatory manner at a time where state government should be supporting the preservation of jobs.

    Aftermarket car audio products are legally available for purchase by consumers, a vast majority of which use these products in a responsible and legal manner. H.B.1178 effectively bans an entire category of legally available aftermarket product and destroys the livelihoods of people who have committed no crime. If the Hawaii House of Representatives wishes to curb excessive noise from car audio systems, it can encourage the enforcement of existing noise abatement statutes instead of penalizing all Hawaii consumers for the bad behavior of a relative few.

    We strongly encourage the rejection of H.B.1178. Thank you for your attention.


    Keith Lehmann
    Senior Vice President, Consumer Electronics Sector

  12. My letter has been sent and I hope all the members of the CEA and MERA get time to do the same. If you don’t have time to write a letter let me know and I will do one on your behalf and send it back to you to forward. I know a lot of us travel a good percentage of the time so let me know if I can help make sure your voice gets heard.

    Now to all the people who would like to see our industry (Car Audio) banned please know that I have 4 children I feed with the money I make from selling Car Audio. I myself was raised on the money my father made selling Car Audio. It has helped our family emerge from poverty and allowed us to have the first college graduate in our family’s history. Remember the golden rule and check this out

  13. Bob Fields, I hope your last statement was meant to be an example of what not using spell check looks like.

  14. I have to laugh at all these folks who either never heard of a City or State trying to do this before and those that don’t even know if there are associations that cover their industry.

    Other than the State’s improper notification process, any person can petition a government body to “do something”! That is the American Way folks whether we like it or not.

    I absolutely agree WE need to do something about it, that CEA & MERA need to do something about it AND that LOCAL RETAILERS need to do something about it. It may even cost them money, but they are PROTECTING their RIGHTS and their businesses. No one has a greater reason to DO something that the local Retailer!

    Stop complaining, participate in the system and for heaven’s sake BEFORE you send your letter or submit your testimony PLEASE US SPELL CHECK! After all, you would want to be seen as a professional, knowledgeable and someone worthy to be taken seriously.

  15. “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

    The thought of a state being able to pass legislation of this nature could start a trend throughout the other states crippling an already challenged industry. States currently have noise ordnance laws to deal with the belligerent users without the common respect to appreciate their music while not forcing others to appreciate it with them.

    I commend the efforts of companies like Kenwood and the associations such as CEA and MERA who have always aided in fighting harmful legislature and recommend every mobile electronics enthusiast to join in the fight.

    Matthew “SPOT” Fulton

  16. I live on the “Main Land” in Oregon.. I visit Hawaii and many other places OFTEN!!! And to think that it would be OK to do such a thing as ban the ENTIRE aftermarket car audio marketplace for the LESS THAN 1% abusers of there stereo systems audio output is no different than BANNING EVERY AFTERMARKET supplier of air fresheners to wheels and tires from selling their products because some people do not like the sight, style, or performance of some other persons chosen ability to do to their vehicle….
    This falls on the lines of BANNING ALL GUNS assuming that LESS THAN 1% of the population will use them unresponsibly!!!!!!

  17. This is kinda like banning guns when you should be banning shooting people. Let them keep their systems yet fine them if they use them in an offensive manner. Perhaps a 120db Drive-by *is* offensive and should receive a $250 fine.

  18. I can’t believe that there are not more important issues to deal with in Hawaii that this. Why not take away all of the cars while they are at it. I don’t think anyone appreciates being blasted by overly loud music,unless it’s their music. So ticket the excessive noise offenders and let the rest of us that appreciate good sounds alone.

  19. hey Dave your A** how did you get on
    this forum you cannot be part of car audio
    this is a lively hood of many people around the world.
    So why dont you go buy a system and blast your music
    so you dont have to hear the other people music.
    do you get mad at sporting events because it is to loud,
    how about a concert or the Harly Davidson or a Semi truck.
    this is what is called FREEDOM if you dont like
    it move to another country with the rest of the Liberals
    and you can all live like you want but leave us alone

  20. This bill cannot pass. If passed in Hawaii, it could quickly find its way to other states. They obviously didn’t consider the possible domino effect of this bill, if it migrates to the mainland – the car audio industry would crumble – especially automotive Tier 1’s such as Alpine, Pioneer, Kenwood, Clarion, etc. These companies are already going through severe conditions due to the aftermath of the recession. Who will be left to manufacture OEM head units & speakers for automakers?

  21. AC: Your missing the point. This sets a bad precedent because it creates a law that only affects aftermarket cars. If you have a problem with cars that have speakers greater than 6.5″ and 100 watts, then make a law that outlaws cars with speakers greater than 6.5″ and 100 watts. Don’t make a law that makes it okay for some people to have it (as long as it’s manufacturer original) and others to not have it. Or even better, if you’re concerned about the “paradise” state of Hawaii, you make a law for sound levels in certain areas (i.e., loud music playing at a beach disturbs the peace and is against the law).

  22. The issue is not so much about you whether you agree with loud music or not. It is about the government trying to outlaw an industry and setup an OEM monopoly on audio equiptment. There are already noise ordanances in effect to cover people that play music to loud. This law would make it illegal to posses this equiptment even if it is not being used in a manner that would be disruptive at all. They are literally trying to take away someones buisness by making what they do illegal.

  23. I say yes! I\’m sick of the low life\’s pulling up next to me or going through my neighboorhood will this pounding stuff. Talk about getting a life? How about these meatheads getting a life? This law is not being proposed to spite people. It\’s a safety issue among others. You can\’t hear sirens with that crap pounding.

  24. You guys notice who is making this ban??? Its Hawaii! I live here and honestly it sounds like the ban is being made to preserve the Islands. People come here to experience paradise. Not to be laying on the beach and being interrupted by some one listening to 99 Problems or some other heavy bassed song blaring. This state has a high respect for the environment and its reputation of being a paradise. At the beginning of this year they banned Plastic shopping bags from being handed out at walmart and all other retail/grocery store. No one will follow with this ban on the Main Land but in Hawaii it works! So…….STOP FREAKING OUT! Besides out of all the car audio stores in the nation I sure Hawaii has less than 1% of them.

  25. A couple of facts here:

    1. HB1178 was introduced on January 25, nine business days ago. We were made aware of the bill last Friday with a copy made available yesterday.

    2. CEA Automotive Electronics Division Board is conducting a conference call today to discuss HB1178 (among other topics).

    Everyone can be assured that all manufacturers and industry associations will work to aggressively block this ridiculous bill and prevent the precident that it will create. In the meantime, we should all be writing letters to the Hawaii House of Representatives, 26th Legislature, referencing HB1178 and how destructive this bill will be to the aftermarket car audio industry.

    Solomon Daniels wrote a very good letter yesterday, the text of which can be seen here:

    Check it out!


  27. This attempt is ridiculous–Not only in what and how it is trying to restrict, but in the short-sightedness of the legislators in trying to remedy a problem. So they are effectively putting out of business the aftermarket dealer, and supporting the OEM. So who will they complain to about price-gouging or inflated prices by dealerships when they KNOW that they are the only ones who can service and replace OE subs and components? A consumers only options will be Walmart, etc. for OE replacements, but what if you have a Dodge that takes 6*9s, and it is illegal to be bought or installed aftermarket? Furthermore, on the basis that it is a noise issue, so are they then going to move onto exhaust and performance shops to ban aftermarket mufflers? And then home theaters, or home theater dealers with extensive soundrooms that share buildings? How about outdoor amphitheaters or music venues, or even outdoor patio bar and restaurants?

  28. What I find amazing…. Where is the CEA,MERA, and the other abbreviated names on this?

    What exactly is their purpose? great industry we got here. This should not be up to the dealers to have to fight or expend any undo worries or financial hardships…

    I think the news link should say… Industry is blindsided by a bill that is to pass and everyone is trying to figure who’s finger to pull.

    Have a great day

  29. Get Organized guys. Is there a national audio electronics association? There should be, to help fund your legal and political fight. If not form a committee in Hawaii,
    appoint a leader, raise some money to hire a lobbyist
    and go for it. Mobilize your customers as well to stage a free speech protest at the legislature etc. This kind of crisis has come up before and it’s been beaten back. Good luck. I love Hawaii!!

  30. It is imperitive this not be allowed to pass. It will be the end of car audio nationwide! It is particularily disturbing to see it is more restrictive than a factory system with an 8″ woofer and 12 speaker system. Talk about unfair legislation.
    No different than Gun bans once the government gets a strangle hold on you your dead. If they are concerned about noise violations then so be it but to regulate the actual speakers and amplifiers is just like the government bans on ammunition or magazines. Is is an underhanded attempt to indirectly control a problem. Many people will not notice it until it is too late to stop!

    Media play and mass information with a huge letter writing campaign on this is needed immediately!


  31. i wonder if Harley Davidson motorcycles are being legislated there? and how many govt officials own one of those?

  32. OH MY GOD. It’s not April 1. This is a joke, right? What a bunch of bored losers. This is SO stupid I can’t even think of an analogy to compair. Get a life and fix something that’s broken.

  33. This is BIG! If it passes, other states will follow suit. This speaks to many issues that confront us. Not the least of which is apathy among our industry. This cannot be allowed to pass in Hawaii, or anywhere else!

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