New legislation in Springfield aims to ban local radio stations from using an attention-getting sound effect.


If passed into law, the Radio Broadcast Safety Act would make the playing of anything that sounds like an emergency vehicle’s siren a finable offense.


Currently in committee, the legislation says the broadcast of sirens over the radio can distract drivers. The bill says it is necessary to prohibit the sounds to protect motorists’ safety and well-being.

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Currently, the FCC bans the use of false Emergency Alert tones that would trigger the automated system. The National Association of Broadcasters has no comment on the bill.


The House bill’s sponsor, Vernon Hills Democrat Carol Sente, said she got the idea for the bill from a sixth-grader in her district. She said the siren sounds on the radio are dangerous and could get someone hurt.


“I felt like I’ve been in the exact situation,” Sente said. “I do think we have to be careful with this situation. It could cause accidents.”


The ban also would prohibit broadcasters from airing advertisements with a siren sound effect.


The penalty for airing a siren sound would be up to $500 for a first offense and up to $1,000 thereafter.


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