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. 

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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 becca.godwin@ajc.com, @BeccaJGGodwin on Twitter or via the form below. Thanks.

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