Horn isn't ok please!

Horn isn't ok please!

A ‘sound concept’ in theory, ‘No Honking Monday’ is far from it in practice. Started in November 2012, the initiative by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) aims at spreading public awareness on the impact of noise on the environment and encouraging motorists not to honk, specifically on Mondays. 

Measured data across five continuous noise level monitoring stations in the City shows a reduction of 4.5 per cent noise level but a lot more needs to be done. KSPCB chairman Vaman Acharya admits, “I don’t want to blame people because our efforts are still lacking. Instead of making a law right now, the awareness needs to increase. We need to go to colleges, offices, taxi associations and bus depots and talk to people about how the horn isn’t a necessity but a nuisance.”

 “The traffic police has given us a good support. But they need to monitor better. For reverse horns, harsh horns, multiple horns and air horns, they can start booking cases. If they book a sufficient number of cases on these horns, the honking will automatically come down,” he explains.

Vaman also feels that the RTO needs to be stricter. “Lorries have ‘Sound Horn’ and ‘Horn OK’ written on them but that concept needs to change. ‘Flash Light’ or ‘Wait For Your Cue’ need to be the next slogans,” he emphasises, adding, “The standard of horns has to be stabilised and the RTO and traffic police need to monitor the decibel levels more closely. Besides this, all schools, colleges, public offices, courts and residential areas should have ‘No Honking’ signs.”A source in the KSPCB adds that the 4.5 per cent reduction can be attributed to the awareness campaign. “We’ve got a good response in Central Bangalore. But the culprits are usually habitual honkers, unskilled drivers and youngsters,” he says. 

Figures provided by the KSPCB show that across four important junctions in Koramangala — BDA Complex, Sony Circle, Wipro Junction and Aishwarya Junction — the average noise values accumulated over eight months are considerably lower on Mondays compared to other days (see table). However, motorists admit that it isn’t uncommon to see the rule being flouted. “I try to avoid honking as a principle. The only time I honk is when learners or old people are driving really slowly and I’m in a hurry. But from what I’ve seen, the rule is rendered pointless not only on Mondays but throughout the week. Why will people stop honking when there’s nobody to monitor or penalise them?” questions Aditya Srivats, a biker.

Many are completely unaware of the campaign. Ajan K, a professional, says, “It doesn’t sound like the right way to educate people on honking mannerisms. But if it creates good attention, it might help a lot. I’ve met drivers who barely glance at the ‘No Honking’ signboards around schools and residential areas. Either they deliberately ignore them or they don’t know the rules. The awareness drive has to be much stronger.”

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