Actual Factual Atlanta: How late can ice cream trucks play jingles?

Welcome to "Actual Factual," a regular column in which I answer reader questions about goings-on in Atlanta. Here's one I did recently about where the giant spinning rock in Midtown went.

Now that you're familiar, you'll find information for submitting your own questions at the bottom. 

Question: How late is too late for ice cream trucks to play music on speakers? A truck was recently parked across from my house for a while with its jingle playing — at 11 p.m.

Children are drawn to the jingle of an ice cream truck the way moths are drawn to light. But when those children grow up to become adults, with responsibilities that include saving money, eating well and getting up for work in the morning, the sound can become less pleasant and more offensive — especially if heard after dark. 

So your curiosity, dear reader, about the cutoff time is understandable.  

First, here are some things I learned while researching your query: 

-The Fulton County Board of Health permits food trucks, but the Department of Agriculture regulates ice cream trucks. 

-The United States Department of Agriculture does not regulate ice cream truck jingles. 

-The Atlanta Police Department addresses noise complaints. 

MORE: Who made that giant car sculpture in Midtown?

MORE: Here’s when MARTA trains should get free Wi-Fi

So here’s the answer to your question, according to an informational packet on ice cream/vending trucks provided by APD:

 - No vehicle using sound equipment shall operate such equipment: 

  • before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. daily 
  • between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and noon on Sundays 
  • within one block of a church between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Sundays      
  • within 600 feet of any public school between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on days when schools are in session

  - Motor vehicle vendors may not stop or stand to do business for more than 30 minutes. 

- Operation hours for vendors is from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.

- Before making any sale, vendors must park the vehicle at the right curb at least eight feet from any other vehicle that may be parked on the street and not less than 100 feet from any intersecting street. When the vending vehicle stops, all sound equipment or other devices used to notify customers of the presence of the vendor shall be stopped and shall not be resumed until the vehicle is again put in motion. 

 - Amplified sound must comply with city of Atlanta noise ordinance. 

 - All vendors shall display their valid vending permit and licenses in the approved vehicle.

Click here to find out how to submit a code violation to the APD. 

Like Intown Atlanta News Now on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter

I am a staff writer with the AJC and a lover of Atlanta, my adopted home for nearly six years after moving to Georgia from Florida. To submit “Actual Factual” questions, contact me at, @BeccaJGGodwin on Twitter or via the form below. Thanks.

In the news:

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Truck hit by train after getting stuck on tracks outside Vinings restaurant
Truck hit by train after getting stuck on tracks outside Vinings restaurant

A pickup truck was hit by a train outside a train-themed restaurant in Vinings Tuesday evening, police confirmed. The truck’s driver got his vehicle stuck on the railroad track in the parking lot of Orient Express at 2921 Paces Ferry Road, Cobb County police spokesman Wayne Delk told Orient Express is a Chinese, sushi and hibachi...
Carjacking in NW Atlanta prompts police chase that injures bicyclist
Carjacking in NW Atlanta prompts police chase that injures bicyclist

One person is in custody and one is on the run in northwest Atlanta after a police chase that left a bicyclist injured Tuesday night, authorities said. Two men are accused of carjacking someone near Spring Street and 10th Street, prompting a brief chase with police, Atlanta police spokeswoman Stephanie Brown said. At some point during the chase, a...
DeKalb voters complain of election issues as county certifies votes
DeKalb voters complain of election issues as county certifies votes

In less than 30 minutes Tuesday afternoon, the DeKalb County Elections Board certified its midterm election results, touted their hard work and listened to questions and complaints from residents about the election process. But hours after the meeting, a “technical glitch” prevented the certified numbers from being posted to the ...
Amazon headquarters decision: It’s not Atlanta
Amazon headquarters decision: It’s not Atlanta

In the end, Georgia didn’t convince Amazon that Atlanta is the best location for its second headquarters. Or even the second best. The Seattle-based tech giant made it official Tuesday, announcing that it will split its proposed $5 billion HQ2 project into two operations. One will be in New York’s Long Island City in Queens and the other...
Atlanta eyes regulation of booming electric scooter business
Atlanta eyes regulation of booming electric scooter business

To supporters, they’re an inventive, convenient way to get around the city without much of a carbon footprint. To critics, they’re critters that litter Atlanta’s sidewalks, posing a danger to pedestrians, drivers and the people who use them. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, those dockless scooters that popped up around Atlanta...
More Stories