Mayor Bloomberg yesterday vetoed legislation that would ban the sale and installation of certain kinds of audible car alarms, setting the stage for a City Council override.
The measure would prohibit the sale and installation of audible alarms that are motion-activated or that sound for longer than three minutes - which are illegal to use in the city - and impose fines up to $1,000 for a first offense and $2,500 or more for subsequent violations.
In his veto message to the city clerk, the mayor said he believed most aftermarket car alarms are equipped with adjustable settings and noted the legislation would not affect cars with alarms installed at the factory.
"[The bill] does not recognize the distinction between a car alarm that has been set at an inappropriate sensitivity threshold...and an alarm that has been set properly but by definition retains the potential to operate in a way that violates" the Noise Control Code, Mr. Bloomberg wrote.
The council voted 46-2 last month to approve the measure, which was a compromise from earlier bills that sought to ban the use of car alarms altogether.
Administration officials had argued that prohibiting car alarms could lead to a rise in car theft, which has dropped precipitously over the last decade.
However, the administration acknowledged there was no direct evidence linking car alarms to car thefts.
The legislation also worked to close a loophole in a 1993 law that banned the use of certain alarms but did not make it illegal to sell or install them.
Council members yesterday said it was preposterous to ban those car alarms yet keep it legal for them to be sold and installed. A recent council survey of 50 auto shops found that nearly 75% of them had sold or installed the illegal alarms.
Council Member John Liu, chairman of the Transportation Committee, dismissed the notion that car alarms deter theft and called the veto "misguided."
"There's a lot of noise created in this veto message that doesn't get to the heart of the matter," Mr. Liu said.
"The administration is holding on to hope that car thieves are actually deterred by these alarms," he said. "There is no proof that they deter car theft, and there is tons of evidence that they deter people from getting a good night's rest."