Have Cell Phone Rings Gone Too Far?

An April Fools' Spoof from 'Weekend Edition Sunday'

Man's holding cell phone away from ear and tie being blown by force of sound from phone.

New York City's Center for Reduction of Noise Pollution issued a public call to action regarding "ring rage" — strangers getting into fights over loud, obnoxious cell phone ringtones. istockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption istockphoto.com

If there's one thing you can't get in New York City, it's silence.

But some legislators think that New York has heard too much of one sound in particular: cell phone ringtones.

The city's Center for Reduction of Noise Pollution issued a public call to action last month, citing an increased number of confrontations spawned by a new phenomenon: It's called "ring rage," and it involves strangers getting into fights over obnoxious cell phone ringtones.

David Yassky, a member of the New York City Council for the 33rd District in Brooklyn, has proposed a bill to regulate cell phone rings.

Distracting ringtones in the workplace cost the economy more than $1.2 billion each year, says Yassky. His bill mandates that New York residents choose between four more palatable rings, custom-made by the city.

"We wanted one of them to be Bobby DeNiro's monologue from Taxi Driver — 'You talkin' to me?' — but we couldn't get the rights," says Yassky.

Many New Yorkers have been outraged at the possibility of being told what rings they can and cannot use, especially since anyone caught using an unauthorized tone will be subject to heavy fines.

Yassky speaks with Liane Hansen about the measure, which he says would be strictly enforced by the police.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.