By: Diana Bello Aristizábal
In a new version of “Coffee with the community”, residents, representatives of the Doral Police, and City councilors gathered to discuss the problems that surround our city. Among the topics addressed, the main one was the loud noise that car mufflers create when they meet at night to race.
“Every night I hear two or three vehicles that seem to be firing shots,” said Maria Claudia Molina Noyes, an investment expert who has lived in Doral for 18 years.
She explains the noise comes from mufflers belonging to cars that from 8:30 at night and until midnight meet between 58 and 74 streets and 114 Avenue to race on the street. “They start earlier on the weekends. I’m very scared”.
Carmen Velasquez, a Doral resident since 2000 and owner of a catering company, claimed to have heard the same noise from her residence located on 58th Street and 102nd Avenue.
“The noise used to be sporadic but it is becoming more and more prevalent,” she says. The “concert” of car mufflers begins for her after 10 pm and can go on into the early hours of the morning.
“This is concerning for me because I have a daughter who leaves work at midnight on the weekends and has to drive back alone. I am afraid that one day she finds herself in the middle of these races,” Carmen says.
Marisol Salcedo, a Doral resident since 2015, said she is experiencing a similar situation that conflicts her family. “I think I would be able to tolerate the noise but I have a baby who wakes up with every muffler sound,” says Salcedo, an educational psychologist who lives on 58th Street and 112th Avenue.
In some cases, auto races are held inside properties. “I sent a report to the property manager of my development because a neighbor races his motorcycle while another vehicle follows and films him until they both exit the property and enter 58th Street to continue racing. They drive so recklessly that the cars’s tires leave marks on the street”, says Carmen.
The best tools are reporting and education
After listening to the complaints presented by the community, the Police spokesman, Rey Valdes, said the Police has conducted several operations, the most recent one on 114th Avenue, to catch these incidents, although he also made it clear that 24-hour surveillance is not possible.
On the other hand, he explained that the greatest obstacle to solve this issue is the lack of clarity in Florida statutes regarding the level of noise allowed for car mufflers.
“In the past, the number of maximum decibels allowed for cars was clear. Currently, the law only says that you cannot have mufflers that are too loud, but it does’t specify how many decibels are permitted. This fact makes it challenging to quantify and document that a vehicle is breaking the law,” Rey says.
In addition, many of the cars that deliver a noise, considered disruptive to Doral’s residents, are manufactured within the law with these mufflers. “Although the sound is loud for some people, the law allows it because they come directly from the car factory and if that’s the case, our hands are tied. Another scenario would be if they were modified after being purchased,” he explains.
In the face of this, attendees concluded that there are two solutions to this problem: create an awareness campaign using different means of communication and get together as citizens to report these incidents through the appropriate mechanisms.
“It’s about educating the community. I would like the Council to raise an initiative to encourage people to be a good neighbor, taking the issue of cars noise as a starting point,” says Marisol.
In response, Councilwoman Digna Cabral, together with Councilman Oscar Puig, said that the City is working on a campaign to promote good behavior in the city.
“We want to put the 2016 campaign ‘You don’t do that here’ in positive. In addition, I plan to speak with state representatives to request a bill that defines the number of decibels allowed,” she says.
But in addition to the educational component, reporting these incidents is always the best tool. “We received a report from someone who was walking his dog and saw one of these cars. As we have an image of the license plate, we are trying to determine where the driver lives to see if we can catch him in the act,” says Valdes.
“The important thing is to report on which streets the problem is occurring, at what time and when so that we can make a strategy. This can be done through the City’s 311 online system or with the City of Doral app in the section ‘Report an Issue’. Both are constantly monitored”, explains Digna Cabral.
You can also call the Police at the non-emergency number which is 305-593-6699 ext 7 or 911 if it is an emergency. “If you send a report through social media, the response may not be effective because it can be seen late,” warns Rey Valdes.
If you have been impacted by noisy car mufflers, we want to hear from you. We invite you to share your opinion on this issue or report incidents through our information channels.