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Vrooooom! – Shhh … Keep it down

By Staff | Apr 9, 2008

When in Estherville, the police department doesn’t need to confer with a calendar to know warmer weather has descended.

All it takes is a look at the shift report and the number of complaints received in regard to loud noise.

A sound to one person may be music while to another is nothing more than noise, loud and disturbing. This is the case with motorcycles, car stereos and ATVs.

“This happens annually on the first few nice days of the year,” said Estherville Police Captain Brent Shatto. “The general message here is that operators of motorcycles and ATV unnecessarily manipulate acceleration in such a manner as to causing a loud noise from the exhaust system.”

Referring to Estherville City Code, it reads, “It is unlawful for any person to operate or for the owner to cause or permit to be operated within the city any motor vehicle which emits or is capable of emitting a noise in excess of the dB (A) established in this section.”

The code includes a chart listing the maximum allowable noise levels for motor vehicles.

“Drivers can take off quietly if they want to,” Shatto stated, noting that the citation is a simple misdemeanor punishable with a fine of $1 to 100 or 1 to 30 days in the Emmet County Jail, all of which is at the discretion of the Emmet County magistrate.

“This is a warning if you choose to drive in such a manner to disturb the people, you can expect to be cited,” Shatto said.

Persons who want to know how many decibels are tucked within the noise they create are invited to stop at the city parking lot located at North Fifth Street and First Avenue North on Monday, April 14 from 4-8 p.m. At that time, officers will use the sound meter to determine whether the noise generated by vehicles is within the specifications of the city code in regard to noise emission.

Police are offering this courtesy to remind the motoring public of the city code and the enforcement of the policy. “This is is to let citizens know we have received numerous complaints since Friday,” he explained.

“The goal here is not to write a bunch of tickets because we would rather not have to write up tickets. Instead we want to alert operators they can operate their vehicles without disturbing our citizens by driving in a prudent manner.”

Those voicing complaints have been giving the name of the person and description of the vehicle. “The best way is give us the license number and the direction of travel.”

Shatto said the first call about the noise level was received Friday afternoon where a motorcyclist was in the alley south of Central Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets and revving up his motorcycle disturbing occupants of businesses.