There is nothing worse than trying to relax on a peaceful evening only to hear the loud thudding of basslines coming from a nearby car.
As a result motorists who are caught blasting music too loudly while driving may find themselves susceptible to punishment by authorities if they don’t cooperate with local noise limits.
There are several different rules and regulations in place to prevent communities from suffering disruption from loud music blaring from passing vehicles. But just how much could turning up the stereo really cost an offender?
Two completely different approaches
Surprisingly, the rules on loud music in the car vary considerably across Australia.
For drivers in New South Wales, ACT, Queensland and Tasmania, having their music blaring isn’t an illegal act in itself, but drivers can be punished for causing noise pollution.
The rules fall under the regulations of each state's branch of the Environmental Protection Agency and are found in the Environmental Operation (Noise Control) Regulations Act 2017 which state that drivers can be punished for noise due to “inappropriate use” of audio devices.
The noise regulations vary at different times of the day and the week. For example, amplified sound systems in NSW are banned from 12am to 8am on Friday and Saturday, but between Sunday and Thursday they are banned between 10pm to 8am.
In some states such as Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia, the noise pollution rulings don’t take effect as these state branches of the EPA generally give exemptions to vehicles and devices within them.
However, drivers in these states aren’t immune to being punished for making deliberate noise on the roads either.
This is thanks to Rule 291 of the Australian Road Rules laws which states that drivers aren’t allowed to generate unnecessary noise from their vehicles.
This is a rule that has been adopted across the country, meaning that drivers will always need to be mindful of their surroundings when playing music at loud volumes.
Not so loud and proud
Police will generally issue verbal warnings to drivers they suspect of playing music at unruly volumes before issuing fines, but the penalties are stiff if you choose to ignore their advice.
If you are caught breaching noise pollution rules, then you could face some surprisingly strict penalties in the states where the rules apply including:
NSW: Any drivers caught causing offensive noise from a sound system get a double whammy of penalties as they will be issued with a $203 fine and two demerit points to their licence.
QLD: Drivers in Queensland will be issued a $175 fine under the noise pollution rulings but no demerit points will be issued.
ACT: If drivers are found to be breaching noise emissions due to devices within their vehicles, then they can be issued with a $252 fine for their troubles.
TAS: If non-commercial vehicles are found to be breaching stationary noise emission requirements, the driver could face a penalty fine of $122.
If these rules weren’t difficult enough to handle, the penalties for causing unnecessary noise with your vehicle are just as harsh with penalties including:
NSW: Any drivers caught making unnecessary noise will find themselves issued with a $349 fine and three demerit points added to their licence.
VIC: Generally, the penalty for causing unnecessary noise with your vehicle will be issued with a fine of two penalty units which equates to $362.
QLD: If you are deemed to be making unnecessary noise with your vehicle, you are likely to face a fine of two penalty units which is currently worth $274.
SA: With the added $92 Victims of Crime Levy penalty in SA, drivers caught making unnecessary noise face a combined fine of $317.
WA: Drivers in WA caught breaching Rule 291 by the authorities face a double penalty of a $100 fine and three demerit points added to their licence.
TAS: If anyone is found causing excessive noise with their vehicle or associated devices, they will likely face a fine of $130.
ACT: Just like their noise emissions rules, any drivers caught unnecessarily making noise with their vehicle will be handed a fine of $252.
NT: Drivers generating excessive noise from their vehicle could face a penalty unit fine of $157 as it is can be punished under the “general offences” section of the state’s road laws.
As you can see, drivers who like to pump music in the middle of the night can be punished quite severely under a raft of different rulings.
With so many ways for these antics to be curbed, you can peacefully sleep at night knowing that the “doof-doof” basslines echoing in the distance will soon be quelled once and for all.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.