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Hey! Shut down your hooters

THE LUCKNOWITES may gradually suffer from hearing loss without knowing what hit their ears if earsplitting hooters and sirens weren?t brought into decibel limits. Pressure horns, hooters and child?s cry, musical tones and police sirens are rising like a trend.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2006 01:15 IST

THE LUCKNOWITES may gradually suffer from hearing loss without knowing what hit their ears if earsplitting hooters and sirens weren’t brought into decibel limits.
Pressure horns, hooters and child’s cry, musical tones and police sirens are rising like a trend.

Some crazier youngsters use central locking in cars as horns while driving on busy roads. Besides being a cause for noise pollution all such devices pose great traffic hazards as they disturb drivers which might result in mishaps.
Notwithstanding the fact there are strict rules against use of hooters, a large number of commuters are dodged by the users of these devices without any fear of being brought to book. To them it is a status symbol and easy way to get the busy roads cleared for them.

The Section 119 (2) of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules states: “No motor vehicles (barring a few) shall be fitted with any multi-toned horn giving a succession of different notes or with any other sound-producing device giving an unduly harsh, shrill, loud and alarming noise”.

The State Government made a gadget notification, based on the MV Rules, specifying as to who could use hooters and pressure horns. According to the notification of March 7, 2000, hooters and sirens could be used in vehicles used by policse officers deployed in Governor/Chief Minister’s escort duty. The officers posted in executive police force could also use these devices during an emergency within their area of jurisdiction. The notification also permitted the transport officers to use hooters and sirens during an emergency.
The notification denied use of hooters and sirens to any other vehicles and asked the officers concerned to strictly check unauthorised use of such devices which it said was causing a lot of noise pollution.

However, the lawmakers, the law executors, the law interpreters as well as the common citizens- are all hooting down the rules and regulations on hooters and sirens. The residents of colonies like Dilkusha, Gulista, Raj Bhawan and Butler Palace are a harried lot as the ministers’ cars blare up hooters at odd hours. “The driver of a car regularly sounds hooter in the night not only when he comes to drop the minister but also when he goes back without the minister,” complained a Dilkusha resident. Same is the case with fire brigades and ambulances. They use hooters and sirens even after they are back after fire-fighting and dropping a patient.

Now, even the private taxies also are also making much use of hooters and sirens apart from the flag of the party in power. They use hooters etc so that the vehicles ahead them give side promptly taking them for a VIP or a police vehicle!

Interestingly, while the State Government has banned use of hooters and similar devices in vehicles other than the authorised one, these sound devices are fitted in hundreds ambassadors owned by the Estate Department. “It is questionable as to how the Estate Department is permitting use of illegal hooters on cars being used by ministers and officers who are otherwise not entitled to such devices,” commented a senior IAS officer. He said in no other State, including the most condemned Bihar people were crazy about using hooters and sirens.

According to environmentalists, a longer exposure to hazardous sounds takes it toll and may result in hearing loss initially without the victims knowing about it. Studies reveal that hooters and sirens produce noise not less than 300-300 decibel whereas the maximum permissible limit for a vehicle to cause noise was 85 decibel.

Noise pollution is not allowed in the silence zone comprising schools, hospitals, and the High Court. But there is anything but silence in the silence zone in the city. Significantly, violation of rules on use of hooters etc attract a penalty of Rs 1000 on the first offence and Rs 2,000 on each subsequent offence. But one wonders if the penalty is ever imposed on the violators. Are the transport and traffic police authorities listening or have the hooters made them deaf?

First Published: Feb 20, 2006 01:15 IST