Rage on the move

honking menace

Rage on the move

Looks like everybody wants to be heard on the road nowadays. No wonder honking is at its shrillest.

Many two wheeler, auto and four wheeler owners are fitting their vehicles with horns that are beyond the permissable sound limit. The use of shrill horns, as cops call them, is on the rise in the city. 

The cases registered by the Bangalore Traffic Police against those using shrill horns has been on the rise. While 13,886 cases were booked in 2012, the numbers rose to 19,127 in 2013 and in 2014 (till September), there have been 18,618 cases. Officials with the pollution control department, transport department and traffic police say that they have drawn up measures to contain the menace of shrill horns but this has had little effect.   

For those on the receiving end, it’s a harrowing time on the road. Mirshad Babu, who works as an assistant manager, says that he has noticed auto and lorry drivers using modified horns. “It’s exasperating and can easily damage your ear. The lorries use them a lot on the highway but it is sickening to hear them within the City,” he says. 

Shihab T, a professional, says the sound is annoying. “Most people use these horns to get ahead but here, the intention seems to be to scare people. They use defective horns to irritate others to clear the way. I think the authorities should check
the quality of the horns to make sure the sound doesn’t exceed the permitted levels.”

A senior officer with the noise pollution wing of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board points out, “Shrill horns cause a deafening effect and can even destabilise one’s mental state because they leave one feeling numb or even in a state of shock. The number of shrill horns is increasing by 15 to 20 per cent every year.” 

Additional commissioner of police (traffic) B Dayananda says, “We have booked a lot of cases this year but it hasn’t had an effect on the behaviour of people on the road. As soon as we register a case, we make sure we dismantle the horn,” he states.  

The horn manufacturers make brisk business by selling musical and fancy horns and say that a lot of people don’t mind paying anything between Rs 350 and Rs 1,500 to get their horns modified. “All these horns exceed the stipulated decibel level.

 These horns can be hidden in the dashboard of vehicles and the driver has the provision to switch to them whenever he wants,” explains Abdul Rasheed, a horn manufacturer on JC Road. The shrill horns are available on JC Road, Mission Road, Jayanagar, J P Nagar, Lalbagh Road and Siddaiah Road. 

Doctors say that the use of shrill horns will have a long-term damaging effect on road users. Dr EV Raman, consultant ENT and head and neck surgeon, Manipal Hospital, concludes, “Shrill horns have a startling effect on people. They can also distract the attention of the drivers and lead to accidents. The purpose of a horn is not to scare people.” 

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