It’s an impulsive reaction to honk when you find someone suddenly crossing your path or when the vehicle in front of you just doesn’t move. It’s the impatience and haste to get ahead of others at any cost. And even worse is the tendency among people to use shrill and defective vehicular horns.
Most people spend a considerable amount of money in getting their horns modified to attract unnecessary attention. These modified horns are above the permissible decibel levels. Abhishek Sircar, an IT professional, recalls that air horns were a rage till their decibel levels were curtailed.
“You can see these uncivilised people flaunting their illegal possessions, without the fear of being caught and penalised. Unfortunately, honking in Bengaluru has become a medium of general communication or a fun activity to kill time,” he says. He feels revising these laws with more stringent punishments and a proper execution of the same is the only way out.
For those at the receiving end of this unnecessary noise pollution, it’s a harrowing time on the roads. Nishant Sharma, a product manager at Syniverse, feels that creating awareness about the ill-effects of unnecessary honking is one of the ways of getting people to give up the habit. He feels that the tendency to honk hasn’t reduced among citizens.
“It’s disturbing when people hear the sound of the horn, especially the modified versions. I find Tempo Travellers, taxis and some of the two-wheeler riders using these modified versions,” says Nishant, who feels that continuous honking must be taken seriously and treated on par with other serious offences such as drunk driving. “The traffic police must catch people and impose a heavy fine on them because this will instill some amount of fear,” he adds.
Besides the fancy horns, the problem also has an existential side to it. Everyone is in such a hurry to reach his or her destination that they wouldn’t mind honking the other person off the street, feels Reena Muthanna, another professional. “This attitude is visible at traffic junctions, when the person behind you expects you to suddenly grow wings and fly. I live near the new airport and have to pass the Hebbal junction almost everyday. I don’t see the regular office-goers honk as much as the cab drivers, regional transport buses and young boys riding a two-wheeler without helmets,” says Reena.
She thinks people must be patient on the roads and not strive to get ahead of others.
The State Regional Transport Authority has stepped in to rein in these aural offenders. The authorities confirm that the modified horns are found in maxi cabs, two-wheelers, Tempo Travellers and some heavy vehicles.
“The modified horns are a clear violation of the existing rules which permit the usage of only electric or bulb horns. Any other variety will attract a fine of Rs 1,500 and repeated offenders are likely to have their licences cancelled,” explains Maruti Sambrani, Additional Commissioner of Enforcement, Regional Transport Authority.
He says he has also caught youngsters who resort to modifying not just horns but also the silencer of the vehicle.
“We have not only caught people using multi-tone horns but also meddling with the silencer to make it louder,” he says.