Horn Not OK, Please… STOP HONKING!

 

Anywhere we go, we find one or another commercial vehicle- truck/bus/trailer, plastered with this message at the back panel- “Horn OK Please”. These commercial vehicles propagate honking on roads and expect the following vehicle to horn before it can overtake these or to demand a pass. It is a customary gesture for drivers of trucks and commercial vehicles to honk incessantly till the other vehicle do not gives them way. And they expect the same from others, too. But is blowing horn really OK and necessary in current context?

Why honking is not acceptable?

According to various studies conducted from time to time, it is now a proven fact that rising levels of noise due to traffic in urban areas have contributed significantly to increased anxiety and stress levels. WHO recommends the limit of 30 decibels for a sound sleep at night. But due to incessant honking on Indian roads, silence of such level has become a distant dream in urban areas. According to this article published in a journal, the road traffic noise in India is even considered more than noise created due to industries and construction.

Central Pollution Control Board’s data shows that traffic noise on an Indian street averages over 100 decibels on a normal day. And honking is a significant contributor to the rising traffic noise on Indian roads. In such a competitive environment where every individual is pressured to prove his/her worth, honking is taking away the much needed peace in lives, without any visible benefit. How many times you have noticed the positive impact of honking to clear traffic? We bet not more than single digits. So, why to take away the mental peace of thousands of commuters and localities that are already suffering from high noise pollution due to other factors too- loudspeakers, construction, industries, etc.

The first step to control honking… YHonk!

In the current context, honking can never be justified and should not be promoted, like the trucks on Indian roads do. It is essential that people with low awareness are enlightened about the ill effects of honking on health and mental peace and everyone should come forward with innovative steps to curb noise pollution.

We have taken the first step by introducting YHonk- one of its kind device and app powered solution to control honking on Indian roads. Now it is upon you to make your move and help us in raising awareness about this serious problem that is affecting every life in this country. Do explore our website and let us know what you think about YHonk and our initiative.

 

Image Credits here.

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Sound barrier: Law in place, cops quiet in Delhi

NEW DELHI: Even as Kathmandu has resolutely curbed the use of horns on roads, Delhi — despite a number of awareness campaigns against honking and noise pollution — continues to record high street noise, with major intersections logging decibel levels over 100 dB. In fact, a driver steps out with the belief that navigating Delhi’s wide roads without honking is not possible.

Experts who have been leading the fight against the insistent use of car horns say the effort should not be limited to awareness campaigns. A deterrent in the form of fines and penalties is required if the Indian capital is to go the Kathmandu way.

In the six months till June, the traffic police had booked just 112 people for using pressure horns (in six months since April 14, Kathmandu police has hauled up 15,500 horn users). Police officers pleaded helplessness about a more robust crackdown due to the lack of noise meters.

“Delhi is sidelining the issue of noise pollution and not giving proper attention to the problem,” declared Ravi Kalra, founder of Earth Saviours Foundation. Popularly called the “No Honking Man”, Kalra began fighting against the blaring problem in 2009 when he began stopping truck drivers entering Delhi, blacking out the ‘horn please’ signs on their vehicles and educating them about the problems created by incessant honking. His focus changed to localities, schools and highways within the city and his ‘Do Not Honk’ signboards and stickers has become a regular sight.

“Street cacophony is a very real threat because you can go deaf due to constant exposure to loud horns,” cautioned Kalra. Road users in Delhi could also suffer hypertension, irritability, headaches, sleeping problems and even heart-related problems in the long term.

Like Kalra, other experts too feel that the lack of fear at being punished is one reason why Delhi hasn’t been able to bring down the noise pollution. “At this point, people are certainly aware of silence zones and rules on horn use, but there is no deterrence in the form of penalties,” said Satish Sinha, associate director, Toxics Link, an environmental NGO. “Rules and penalties need to go hand in hand in order to make a difference. Besides, the cops have to impose strict penalties on drivers who change lanes inconsiderately and force people behind them to honk. Even if you fine a thousand people in Delhi, the number of people honking will come down considerably.”

In a study carried out in 2011, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had observed noise levels reaching 100 dB in various commercial and industrial zones in the city, while ambient noise in residential areas were close to 90 dB during peak traffic hours against the standard of 55 dB for residential areas. The busy ITO intersection saw levels between 77.6 dB and 106.9 dB, while the Anand Vihar ISBT and Sangam Vihar bus stop saw the din going up a maximum of 108 dB and 114 dB, respectively. Even the posh locality of W Block in Greater Kailash II recorded noise at 91 dB. The crossing in front of AIIMS saw noise touching an unhealthy 98 dB despite the area falling in the silence zone due to the presence of two hospitals.

 “Delhi needs a clear strategy and police vigilance for noise pollution,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury of CSE. “Of course, the law does provide for fines and there is adequate signage at intersections informing people about such penalties. However, the enforcement is lacking.” She said that drivers would become more self-conscious about pressing the horn if they had to fork out good sums for violating the norms.

Image Credits| News clipping originally appeared in The Times of India

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