Will a ban on "horn ok please" stop continuous honking on Indian roads?

Will a ban on "horn ok please" stop continuous honking on Indian roads?


Once you hit the roads in India, honking dominates every other sound that prevails in the backdrop. Incessant honking, for whatever godforsaken reason, has become so much a part of our life that we have all turned a deaf ear to the problem it poses in the long run. A major contributor to the noise pollution in our country, honkers are either letting out their frustrations or believe to be driving safer than everyone else. And there are others who do it just because they managed to possess a vehicle and they want every next person to know this. The Maharashtra government paid heed finally but what they came up with is not a fine imposed on useless honking but a ban on those signs at the rear end of trucks and auto rickshaws that say "horn ok please" for they feel that this message encourages honking. One look at this news and I though this was funnier than banning beef but it turns out that the government is pretty serious about getting rid of this message behind vehicles.


1. According to a senior official from the transport commissioner's office solemnly: That phrase is meant as a signal to other vehicles wanting to overtake but it also gives a licence to motorists to honk unnecessarily and excessively in silence zones. While this may seem funny, but the fact is that we see this sign more than necessary on streets and roads and perhaps it is a reflex response that makes some people honk.

2. According to a circular issued the previous day states that displaying the phrase is a gross violation of Section 134 (1) of the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Rules, which deals with signage to be used on the rear and sides of vehicles. A step towards discouraging honking is better than no action at all. Perhaps this could be a start and more steps to curtain noise pollution created by honking will follow soon.

3. WHO has issued guidelines for states that shows risks of impaired hearing when exposed to noise levels over 85 decibels, and the danger gets higher at 90 decibels and above. If properly implemented followed by fines imposed on those breaking rules, this could help reduce noise pollution in the state. This will be taken as a warning to those that honk needlessly and continuously even in silent zones.

4. Last year Karnataka State Pollution Control Board wanted to ban fitting of horns altogether in all two wheelers to reduce cacophony on roads. Such a step could not be implemented because Motor Vehicles Act says that every vehicle is to be fitted with an electric horn or any other device, and should be capable of giving audible and sufficient warning to approaching vehicles, to prevent accidents. Comparatively, the Maharashtra government's measure is more practical and can be implemented strictly followed by other measures to reduce honking.

5. It is more of behaviour science that can explain why people honk more than what is necessary. People these days are more impatient and frustrated on the government or with their personal lives. They feel honking is a way to let go off their steam. And to top that up, we have signs that tell them that it is absolutely ok if they honk.


1. We have big billboards, flyers and signs on public places and vehicles that clearly yell out the dangers of smoking yet do people actually follow these? No. It doesn't matter if the "horn ok please" sign stays or is done away with, honkers are going to stay mad honking unless a hole is burnt in their pockets for charges of attempt to make the entire country deaf. Maharashtra government should have considered imposing fines on these honkers instead of showing that the film Industry has got its claws deep into them as well and making them do it the dramatic way.

2. Few years back New York streets and roads had signs that told people not to honk. They soon removed these signs and kept up the practice of fining the honkers. They are of the view that signs do not in any way alter public behaviour. Humans never do what they are told to do and the same is about honking. Sign or no sign, these people won't stop.

3. According to the Central Pollution Control Board roads around hospitals, educational institutions, courts, religious places are declared as silence zones and horns must not be used for around 100 metres of such places but this rule is hardly followed. The problem in our country is not scarcity of rules but the way it is never implemented properly.

4. Maharashtra government surely knows how to pull out a good show. The ban on beef was nothing but a glorified reason to divert attention and create unnecessary controversies. And here comes another one. If the government was actually serious about doing something to counter increasing level of noise pollution from honking, it wouldn't be thinking about signs behind lorries but the missing signs and checks for no honking in silent zones.

5. Different vehicles are meant to be fitted horns of only a particular audibility but there exists secondary spare market where anyone can go and get horns of higher decibels. The government should consider the key problem instead of just banning every other thing that is not spoken of by law.


The idea that banning a sign behind trucks and other vehicles would magically reduce honking and noise pollution in Maharashtra is as vague as the earlier decision of banning beef was. Government needs to concentrate on imposing the rules that already exists but are not properly implemented. Heavy traffic and much lesser traffic control officers most of who are not quite responsible towards their duty are things that need attention and not some signs. Fines are imposed but they let go with a small amount of bribe. And whoever gave government the authority to decide what a person wants to paint behind his vehicle? Art liberalisation is at stake here as the government slowly turns to playing dictator.
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  • RE: Will a ban on "horn ok please" stop continuous honking on Indian roads? -Keddy Joshi (05/17/15)
  • I personally believe that banning "horn ok Please" won't make any difference...
    Irrespective of the sign people will keep honking...Cars do not have any such thing written at their back..so do we stop honking at them??? If a truck is travelling at 60 km/hr and i am driving my car at 80 km/hr...I will definitely press my horn..as i need to overtake him.