Honking unnecessarily on the roads is common but don't let that make you believe you can get away with it.

Horn not OK please Honking without reason is illegal so we might as well stop itImage for representation
news Road safety Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 17:46

Almost everyone who has lived in Bengaluru or other big cities would know what happens when the traffic signal shows 10 seconds to the green on the timer. There’s no amount of logic which can explain the honking that begins then, as if expecting the vehicles in front to magically vanish or somehow clear out faster.

The scenario is the same across the country, with little regard for even hospitals or schools that could be in the vicinity. But don’t let the frequency of this behaviour make you believe that it's legal to do so, or that people cannot be held accountable for it.

Section 21 of Rules of the Road Regulations 1989, formed under the section 188 of the Indian Motor Vehicles Act, is about “Use of horns and Silence Zones”.

It essentially says that a driver of a vehicle shall not “sound the horn needlessly or continuously or more than necessary to ensure safety”. It also prohibits blowing the horn in silence zones, fitting or using “multitoned horn giving harsh, shrill or alarming noise”.

Even vehicles creating undue noise while running or driving vehicles with “a muffler causing alarming sound”, are not allowed.

But when was the last time you saw someone getting pulled over by the traffic police for assaulting your ears?

TNM asked R Hithendra, Bengaluru’s Additional Commissioner of Police – Traffic, the question. Initially, he said that the above violations are part of ‘noise pollution’ which fall under the environmental laws and so, the traffic police was not empowered to pull up people for the same.

But when the provisions in the Road Regulations were pointed out, Hithendra said that in 2017, so far, 97 people have been booked for using horns in places where it is prohibited to do so. 1,547 cases have been registered against people using shrill horns in their vehicles, and 535 people were caught with a defective silencer in their mode of transport, this year.

“General noise pollution violations apart from these three do not come to us,” Hithendra told TNM.

The Bengaluru City Police Twitter handle had recently earned praise for their funky social media campaign about road safety. One of the images they tweeted asked Twitter users to “tag that friend who honks at traffic jams/signals. Who are they honking at?”

According to a TOI report from last year, the Centre had proposed to impose a fine of Rs 500 for first time offenders, which would be increased to Rs 1,000 after that. A fine of Rs 5,000 was proposed for people who had installed multi-toned horns. The fine would be Rs 1 lakh for garage owners and dealers who install such horns. 

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