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Meet Ted Rueter of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ted Rueter.

Ted, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am the founder and director of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet (www.noisefree.org). We are a national citizens’ organization devoted to reducing noise pollution.

I started Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet while I was a political science professor at UCLA.I found UCLA to be the loudest campus I had ever been to and Los Angeles to be the loudest city I had ever been to. I was teaching a class on “political advocacy.” I recruited 14 students to work on reducing noise on campus. We called ourselves “Noise Free UCLA.” We wrote a letter to the chancellor, identifying 44 sources of unnecessary noise on campus. We met with three high-ranking administrators on campus; they agreed to make some changes to reduce noise. We also hosted a Los Angeles “noise summit,” with various interest groups and neighborhood associations.

After attempting to reduce noise on the UCLA campus, I decided to form a national organization. We grew very quickly. Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet now has:

-52 local chapters in 25 states

-been to Washington, DC three times (2013, 2015, and 2017) to lobby for stricter noise regulations and enforcement

-written a book, published by Quill Driver Books: Guide to Modified Exhaust Systems: A Reference for Law Enforcement Officials and Motor Vehicle Inspectors. This is a visual guide to illegal motorcycle after-market equipment, with 83 original photographs. The book is intended to make it easier for law enforcement officials to visually identify illegal equipment–and thus issue more citations. This web site is devoted to the book; www.motocyclenoise.org.

-We have been featured in more than 330 media stories about noise: http://www.noisefree.org/newsroom/nfainthenews.php

-Ted Rueter, the founder and director of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, has appeared on “20/20” to discuss noise pollution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqZqACUD_J4&feature=youtu.be

-Ted Rueter is now writing a book, entitled Noisy Nation: How the United States Got So Loud and How a Quieter Country Would be Happier, Healthier, and Safer

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, it has not been a smooth road. It is difficult getting citizens activated to fight noise. It is difficult raising funds. It is difficult recruiting volunteers. It has been difficult getting the mainstream environmental movement to regard environmental noise as an environmental issue.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet – what should we know?
Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a 501c3 non-profit organization. We are the nation’s most active and effective organization fighting noise pollution. I am most proud of:

-generating more than 330 media stories about noise pollution, to increase public awareness of the issue

-helping thousands of victims of noise pollution, through our “Ask an Expert” service. Bob Andres (a noise control engineer) and Rick Holtsclaw (a former Houston police officer) offer advice to the public, free of charge.

-meeting with EPA officials in Washington, DC to discuss noise enforcement

-meeting with members of the White House staff under President Obama, to discuss noise enforcement

-publishing a book on motorcycle noise enforcement: Guide to Modified Exhaust Systems: A Reference for Law Enforcement and Motor Vehicle Inspectors

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are many active members of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, including:

-Bob Andres: a noise control engineer, and a member of the “Ask an Expert” team

-Larry Deal: co-author of our guide to motorcycle noise enforcement

-Kevin Egelston: our webmaster, and the creator of www.motorcyclenoise.org

-Rick Holsclaw: a former Houston police officer, and a member of the “Ask an Expert” team

-Geoff Keller: co-author of our guide to motorcycle noise enforcement

-Sally Lusk: a retired professor of nursing at the University of Michigan and a member of our advisory board

-Marjorie McCullagh: a professor of nursing at the University of Michigan and a member of our advisory board

-Cullen Ruff: a radiologist and a member of our advisory board

-Bonnie Sager: an eye doctor and a member of our advisory board

-Lucy Weinstein: a pediatrician and a member of our advisory board

Contact Info:

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