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Canadian Motorist Fined $118 For Singing While Driving

If you're going to sing in your car in Montreal, do not pump up the volume.
Barry Winiker
Getty Images
If you're going to sing in your car in Montreal, do not pump up the volume.

If it's a crime to sing in the car, who among us is not guilty?

Taoufik Moalla, a 38-year-old father of two, told the Montreal Gazette he was driving to the grocery store when he popped a CD into his car stereo. His jam of choice for this bottled water run?

C+C Music Factory's 1990 hit "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)."

He sang along, obviously.

Suddenly, he says, he heard the wail of a siren behind him.

"I was thinking they wanted to pass, but they called on the speaker, 'Please go to the right side,' " he told CTV Montreal. "I stopped and four police came, two on each side, and checked the inside of the car. Then they asked me if I screamed. I said, 'No, I was just singing.' "

The police checked his license and registration, and then gave Moalla a $149 ticket ($118 U.S.), for the offense of screaming in public.

Montreal's police website says the city's noise bylaws vary by borough, but in general, "Noise resulting from cries, clamours, singing, altercations or cursing and any other form of uproar" is among the categories of prohibited noise.

Moalla told CTV that he wasn't singing especially loud — just as loud as you would sing if "you are happy and you like this song."

"I don't know if my voice was very bad and that's why I got the ticket, but I was very shocked," Moalla told the television network. "I understand if they are doing their job, they are allowed to check if everything's OK, if I kidnapped someone or if there's danger inside but I would never expect they would give me a ticket for that."

Moalla says he is contesting the ticket.

A question for the Montreal police: How do you not sing to this song?

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Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.