The Delhi traffic police has started a drive against motorists resorting to unnecessary honking, especially outside hospitals, educational institutions and residential areas. The traffic police started the ‘no-honking’ drive across busy roads in Delhi, with focus on educating drivers on the effects of blaring horns.The drive began on Wednesday and in the first phase, areas around Delhi University’s north and south campuses were targeted. Pamphlets were distributed among commuters and stickers put up behind public transport vehicles such as buses, auto-rickshaws and e-rickshaws, asking commuters to refrain from honking. “The idea is to create sensitivity and awareness among commuters before prosecuting violators. We are going ahead with fining those who violate the ‘no tolerance’ and ‘no honking’ zones, but unless we let people know what their action can lead to, we will not be able to control this behaviour,” joint commissioner of police (traffic) Alok Kumar said.Kumar said traffic personnel are also talking to people in these zones to create awareness. Last October, the Delhi traffic police had added 52 additional ‘silent zones’ to the existing 103 such areas in the city. Some of the city’s new silent zones are Lok Nayak Hospital on Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Sri Aurobindo Marg crossing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital, Pusa Road crossing, and Bhagwan Dass Road from Mathura Road to the Tilak Marg crossing.Senior traffic personnel said the new zones include roads around hospitals, educational institutions, residential neighbourhoods and libraries. Last year, over 20,000 fines were issued to those caught honking in silent zones. A study carried out by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in 2011 showed that in several commercial and industrial zones in the city, noise levels were above the 100dB (decibel) permissible mark, while in residential areas, ambient noise levels were close to 90dB during peak traffic hours, against the permissible limit of 55dB. Prolonged exposure to noise pollution can cause hearing loss, loss of sleep, high stress levels and tinnitus. It is also know to damage the psychological health of a person. At the intersection near the income tax office in Vasant Kunj, noise levels were recorded between 77.6dB and 106.9dB.