Hawaii Wants 12V Dealers to Educate

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Corrected! The Hawaii legislature has introduced a bill resolution that would require aftermarket car audio retailers to educate their customers about local noise ordinances.

The resolution HR 107 also requests that local police “vigorously enforce” local noise ordinances.  These local laws state that a car radio shouldn’t be audible from 30 to 50 feet away (depending on the locale).

As a resolution, HR 107 apparently does not carry the weight of law.

Sensible Sound campaign in HawaiiThe resolution, along with a companion bill HCR 123, specifically calls for the state’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to require businesses that sell and install mobile electronics to educate customers on noise laws.

To be proactive, a Hawaii rep, Edric Taira of Foresight Industries has already launched a grass roots “Sensible Sound” campaign. It includes printed fliers for retailers to hand out to customers and stickers for windows and cars. One of the fliers explains the local ordinances and another asks customers to “Practice Sensible Sound.”

Taira said some retailers are already participating and suppliers including Alumapro, Kinetik, Digital Designs and Zapco have voiced their support. A Web site is under construction at www.sensiblesound.org. You can email Taira for more info at [email protected]

Earlier this year, Hawaii introduced bills that would have crippled the car audio and car security business in the state. Both bills were deferred for the time being. The car audio bill sought to ban aftermarket speakers over 6.5 inches and any aftermarket speaker over 100 watts in capability. A separate car alarm bill sought to ban the installation of car security systems in the state and called for existing car alarms to be uninstalled or disabled.

This new bill on educating retailers was introduced on March 15, about a week after the car alarm bill was deferred.  It must get through two committees by April 25, said Taira, or it will not be heard  for the rest of the year.

The spate of anti car audio legislation in Hawaii has spurred the creation of a local Electronics Assocation-Hawaii, to act as a watch dog group and advocate for car stereo retailers. The group held a meeting on March 24 and elected Marco Colindres of Pride of Hawaii as president.  The group will file incorporation papers no later than April 1, said Carmina Ahmed of Car Stereo Express. Seventeen retailers and 6 reps have committed to joining the group, she said.

Source: CEoutlook

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  1. Let me get this straight. HR107 would require retailers to educate consumers AND request police to vigorously support local sound ordinances, but does not carry the weight of law? Clearly these legislators have an agenda that goes against that of the people (as evidenced by the people’s prior involvement to defeat the earlier bills.

    Voluntary programs are great and recommended, but why in the world would anyone agree to be legislated? Most especially when they have won their position through due process (even as the opposition attempted to jam the bill through without clearly or timely notifying those affected.

    Legislators come and go as do the battles they bring with them. Retailers and the industry at the local level need to band together for these burst of activities, but I am unsure that an organization is needed for the rest of the year. A smart business man would participate or at least observe what is happening at the local and state level regardless of the existence of a blatant threat.

  2. Guys,

    Please be vigilant.

    Also consider very carefully the comments about the laws of government giving one retailer or brand an advantage over the other. Who determines that loud is not quality and quality is not loud? Which loud is OK? Harley Davidson motorcycles? The screaming children next door who play on the swings all day long while your brother tries to sleep during the day because he works nights? I just spent three days at Spring Break Nationals standing less than 15 feet away from one of the most anoyingly bad sounding and loud speaker systems I have heard in a while. From the consumer attention the car received one could have guessed the car was issuing free $5 bills to those brave enough to approach. Great opportunity to educate the consumer about alternatives.

    Unless one is heavily involved in influencing the law makers such matters can destroy your business just as easily as help to build your business.

    Educating the consumer is what all specialty retailers do (or should be doing). Of course the legal mandate to educate will fall on the parties with the financial chops to satisfy steep financial remedy sought by the plaintif; generally the manufacturer or very large retailers.

    Could the situation occur where the cost of insuring against such litegation would be impossible for all but the very well financed among retailers? Who would sell sound quality then…? Amazon, Target, Best Buy… Where would you work if you could not afford the cost of insurance to defend your business or the taxes required to pay your fair share of investigation and enforcement?

    Now is a great time to get out in front of uninformed or ill-informed law makers and educate consumers about what specialty retailers sell and to best use such products and services. Not just in Hawaii. I recall about 15 years ago a ton of such legislative efforts in the continental 48. A few members of the specialty retail community (MERA) got involved in the effort to frame the discussion and define appropriate legislation. While I cannot defend all of the actions or inactions of those folks at that time, maybe some similar such orginization(s) might be in a position to help us all collectively create a thriving set of conditions as opposed to just enduring barely survivable conditions.

    Ray Windsor
    German Maestro

  3. I Agree with Barry and would like to add that noise ordinances just open the door for bigger sound deadening sales. Also with the education in the hands of the dealers, it may help get rid off some of the trunk slammer hack shops.

  4. It is wise and strategic for dealers to be proactive and community sensitive in educating and cautioning safe and legal use of ANY aftermarket equipment installed in vehicles. But I am leary of any legislation that puts the responsibility of teaching the laws to the public upon a retailer. To me, this is a Pandora’s box. If a consumer gets pulled over and claims he was never instructed by the retailer, is the retailer now on the hook for the consumer’s behavior?
    There has never been a better time to build the sound quality market rather than just boom cars. And it has never been more evident that the stigma attached to car audio by those who do not understand what we do needs to be addressed.

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