VOA NEWSWIRE – Riyadh, March 12, 2011 — As part of his program to move forward with progressive reforms in the kingdom, and, some pundits say, consolidate his base of support, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah today announced that all car alarm “chirpers”—the high-pitched screeching devices that sound off whenever a vehicle is jostled or a heavy truck rumbles by—are hereby outlawed.
Click here to hear a typical chirper.
The new law goes into effect immediately though enforcement will not begin for another two weeks to give owners time to disable the devices. A 150 Saudi Riyal fine ($40 US) will be levied for every violation and offenders will receive notification at their next ATM transaction, just like any traffic fine.
“These things are un-Islamic, useless and just plain annoying, annoying jedn,” (very annoying) a spokesman for the King said. We’re pretty sure no one in the 7th century had one for his camels and we certainly don’t need them now.”
Imams throughout the kingdom applauded the ruling.
“People don’t mind getting up for the 4:45am Fajr prayer, but they don’t need the annoyance of these devices going off at all hours, disturbing their sleep and disrupting domestic tranquility just because car washers are trying to make a few riyals at 5am,” said Al Rajhi Mosque imam Abdullah Abdulrahman ibn Abdulmajid ibn Abdulkareem. “The harsh chirping or squeaking noises can be heard for blocks away and the resulting lack of sleep causes the faithful to lose concentration during prayers.”
It is expected that chirping remote keyless entry devices will be added to the ban shortly.
“What, they’re not content to just have flashing lights! They have to hear where their SUV is too?” added a highly placed ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“It’s really a quality of life issue” said a leading political observer in Riyadh who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The 135 SR billion ($36 billion US) in social benefits just announced were a bit abstract for the average Saudi to fully get on board with. This new law hits home where it counts…in the bedroom.”
According to the New York City Police Department, car alarms are actually making the crime problem worse because false alarms are so common that people simply ignore them. And the director of the criminology center at the University of Pennsylvania, Lawrence Sherman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "No study has demonstrated that they reduce auto theft." Apparently, my newswriting background has inadvertently caused me to create a piece of satire that looks alarmingly like the real thing, at least according to a couple sources who said "Boy, you must be feeling pretty good about this new law!"