Rhode Island State Laws

Jump to Fireworks — Motor Vehicles: MufflersAudio

TITLE 11. Criminal Offenses

CHAPTER 11-45.1. Unreasonable Noise Levels

§ 11-45.1-1. Declaration of policy.
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the state to prohibit unreasonable, excessive and annoying noise levels from all sources subject to its police power. At certain levels, low frequency sound (between 100-20 cps) when substantially amplified, often referred to as sub-woofer frequency, can be extremely penetrating, disturbing and poses a danger to the health and safety of the individual using equipment creating the sound, and to other individuals in the immediate area from which the sound is being generated. The noise being generated may originate from radios, CD players, DVD players, tape players, televisions and other audio-producing equipment.

§ 11-45.1-2. Violations of acceptable noise levels.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any equipment as set forth in § 11-45.1-1 from which the sound created by this equipment is capable of penetrating a closed vehicle from twenty (20) feet away from the location at which the sound is being generated, or heard from one hundred (100) feet away by a person outside from which the sound is originating. This section shall include, but not be limited to, sound electronically generated by autos, trucks, motor homes, mobile homes, houses, apartment buildings, condominiums, commercial buildings, or from any type of portable sound producing equipment that can be carried or placed outdoors which through its operation exceeds the provision of this chapter. All state and municipal vehicles shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter, nor any person, firm, corporation or other legal entity which holds a valid state or municipal entertainment license to sponsor a parade, carnival or other similar special event. [emphasis added]

§ 11-45.1-3. Penalties.
Any person who violates the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100) for a first offense, two hundred dollars ($200) for a second offense, and three hundred dollars ($300) for the third and any subsequent offense.

CHAPTER 11–13. Explosives and Fireworks

§ 11-13-1. Sale, use, or possession of fireworks.
(a) No person shall offer for sale at retail or at wholesale, shall possess or have under his or her control, use or explode, or cause to explode for exhibition or amusement, display fireworks or aerial consumer fireworks unless permits are obtained pursuant to this chapter and chapter 23-28.11. Display fireworks are defined in the American pyrotechnic association standard 87-1 (APA 87-1) 2001 Edition section 2.7.2 and are classified as explosives 1.3G by the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), UN0335. Aerial consumer fireworks are defined in APA 87-1 2001 Edition section 3.1.2. and are classified 1.4G U.S. DOT, UN 0336.

Certain fireworks and devices that are exempt from the definitions of display fireworks and aerial consumer fireworks shall include, but are not limited to, the following: ground-based and hand-held sparkling devices (non-aerial fireworks) as defined in APA 87-1 2001 Edition sections 3.1.1 and 3.5, and include the following: fountains, illuminating torches, wheels, ground spinners, flitter sparklers, sparkers; novelties, which are defined in the APA 87-1 2001 Edition section 3.2 and include the following: party poppers, snappers, toy smoke devices, snakes, glow worms, wire sparklers and dipped sticks; paper caps containing not more than twenty-five hundredths (0.025) grains of explosive mixture ammunition to be consumed by weapons used for sporting and hunting purposes, and model rockets and model rocket engines, designed, sold and used for the purpose of propelling recoverable aero models). The storage, possession, sale, transportation and use of the items in the above reference section that are not included in the definition of display fireworks and aerial consumer fireworks shall be allowed at all times throughout the state for persons at least sixteen (16) years of age.

Permits for display fireworks and aerial consumer fireworks for commercial display may be issued in accordance with provisions of the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code, chapters 28.1 – 28.39 of title 23. Fireworks display of display and aerial consumer fireworks by any municipality, fair association, amusement park, or other organization or group of individuals is permitted, on condition that the display shall be made by a competent operator approved by the local fire authority and shall be of such character as in the opinion of the fire authority will not be hazardous to persons or property; and, provided further, that the foregoing shall not apply to the use of display and aerial consumer fireworks by common carriers for signal or illumination purposes, the use of blank cartridges in any show or theater, the use of explosives for blasting, the use of display and aerial consumer fireworks as signals in any athletic or sporting event, the use of display and aerial consumer fireworks for ceremonial or military purposes, the sale of fireworks for shipment out of this state, or the sale of fireworks for any use permitted pursuant to this section, provided the person who sells, stores or transports display and aerial consumer fireworks has a permit as required by the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code, chapters 28.1 – 28.39 of title 23.

(b) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a felony and shall be fined not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each offense and/or imprisoned for not more than one year for each offense; except that any person using or having in his or her possession without a permit with intent to use display and aerial consumer fireworks with a value of under five hundred dollars ($500) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction be fined not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) for each offense and/or imprisoned for not more than one year for each offense.

TITLE 31. Motor and Other Vehicles.

CHAPTER 31-23. Equipment and Accessories Generally

§ 31-23-8. Horn required.
Every motor vehicle when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than two hundred feet (200′). However, no horn or other warning device shall emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle. The driver of a motor vehicle shall when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation give audible warning with his or her horn but shall not otherwise use the horn when upon a highway. Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.
(P.L. 1950, ch. 2595, art 34, § 32; G.L. 1956, § 31-23-8; P.L. 2002, ch. 292, § 120.)

Chapter 31-23-13. Muffler.
Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise and annoying smoke. No person shall use a muffler cutout, bypass, or similar device upon a motor vehicle on a highway. Any exhaust system shall be deemed defective if any changes, modifications, alterations, deletions, or adjustments have been made which would cause the exhaust system to generate a higher or louder sound level than would be generated by the exhaust system customarily installed by the manufacturer as original equipment. The defective exhaust system shall be replaced or repaired to restore the exhaust system to the performance specifications of the original equipment. Failure to replace or restore the exhaust system as required in this section within five (5) days shall be deemed a civil violation and violators are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.
(P.L. 1950, ch. 2595, art. 34, § 33; G.L. 1956, § 31-23-13; P.L. 1967, ch. 97, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 218, art. 6, § 11; P.L. 2002, ch. 292, § 120.)

CHAPTER 31-45. Noise Limits for Motor Vehicles

§ 31-45-1. Noise limits.
(a) No person shall operate a motor vehicle, nor shall the owner of any vehicle allow the vehicle to be operated, at any time, or under any condition of grade, load, acceleration, or deceleration, in such a manner as to exceed the following noise limit based on a distance of fifty feet (50′) from the center of the lane of travel within the speed limit. For the purposes of this section, “dbA” means decibels measured with a calibrated sound level meter weighted to the “A” scale.
(b) In speed zones of thirty-five miles per hour (35 mph) or less, not more than eighty-six (86) dbA. In speed zones of more than thirty-five miles per hour (35 mph), not more than ninety (90) dbA.
(c) Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.
(P.L. 1976, ch. 197, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 292, § 126.)

§ 31-45-4. Penalty.
Every person convicted of violating this chapter shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500).
(P.L. 1976, ch. 197, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 134, § 2.)

§ 31-45-5. Motor vehicle radios, stereos and audio systems.
It shall be unlawful for any motor vehicle with a radio, stereo or audio system to produce sound which exceeds those limits specified in this chapter. Police cars, ambulances and fire engines shall not be subject to this section. Local cities and towns may, at their discretion, issue temporary exemption by special permit upon a showing of good cause. Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.
(P.L. 1996, ch. 150, § 2; P.L. 2002, ch. 292, § 126.)

The Rhode Island State Constitution

Although the state constitution doesn’t specifically mention noise, it does speak to whether
those affected by it have the right to redress through state and municipal laws.

Article 1

Section 2. Equal Protection: “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied equal protection of the laws.” This means the government has to treat everyone the same, and can’t apply laws differently to different people.

Section 5. Entitlement to remedies for injuries and wrongs — Right to justice: “Every person within this state ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which may be received in one’s person, property, or character. Every person ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without purchase, completely and without denial; promptly and without delay; conformably to the laws.