Good Question: Does the SLEEP Act apply to noisy car speakers too?

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The SLEEP Act, passed in 2021, imposes penalties for excessively loud motorcycles and car engines. Engines cannot be louder than 90 decibels, which is loud enough to cause hearing damage.

Do the same rules apply to sound systems in cars?

You’ve probably heard music pumping from the speakers as a car zooms down a street. A viewer asked us: “What is the acceptable noise level in Rochester for cars with sound systems?”

The City of Rochester’s website has a page with details on noise ordinances for homes, construction, and automobiles. It says sound coming from motor vehicles should not exceed 80 decibels, which is about as loud as a power lawn mower. This applies to when the car is driving, and when it’s parked.

When it’s out on the road, the test is if you can hear it from 25 feet away. When it’s parked, it is at or beyond the property line.

You might be wondering if the rules are different in your home vs. in your car. City code says you can’t blast music at home at night between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. During the daytime hours, if you can hear it from 50 feet beyond the property line, then the city says it’s too loud.

If you have a good question, send it to us at