Use of Horns

LAW ON USE OF HORNS

What does the Law say?

'No driver of a motor vehicle shall blow hooter/siren in the entire area of the Union Territory, Chandigarh, while driving the vehicle except on ambulances, fire brigade vehicles and Chandigarh Police vehicles.

Rule 178(3) Chandigarh Motor Vehicle Rules 1990

Every motor vehicle manufactured shall be fitted with an electric horn or other devices (conforming to the requirements of is: 1884-1992 specified by the bureau of Indian standards) for use by the driver of the vehicle and capable of giving audible and sufficient warning of the approach or position of the vehicle.

Rule 119(1), The Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989
Note: Not having a functional horn would be violative of the above-mentioned rule and would thus be an offence.

No motor vehicle 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 or alarming noise.

Vehicles used as ambulance or for fire fighting purpose or salvage purpose or vehicles used by police officers or officers of the motor vehicles department in the course of their duties or on construction equipment vehicles, may use such sound signals as may be approved by the registering authority in whose jurisdiction such vehicles are kept.

Rule 119(2) (3), The Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989
A driver of a vehicle shall not
  • Sound the horn needlessly or continuously or more than necessary to ensure safety;
  • Sound the horn in silence zones;
  • Fit or use any multi-toned horn giving a harsh, shrill, loud or alarming noise;
Regulation 21(i) (ii) (iv) the Rules of the Road Regulations, 1989

No driver of a motor vehicle shall sound the horn or other device for giving audible warning with which the motor vehicle is equipped or shall cause or allow any other person to do so continuously or to an extent beyond what is necessary to ensure safety.

Rule 170 (1), Haryana Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993
Rule 178 (1), Chandigarh Motor Vehicles Rules, 1990

No vehicle shall be permitted to have a musical horn. All vehicles, buses, trucks and cars shall not be fitted with power, pressure or musical horns. Such vehicles with any such horns shall be challaned and such horns shall be got removed by the enforcement officer so authorized to challan the vehicle, under his supervision.p>

Rule 114a (iii) (vii), the Haryana Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993

Removal & confiscation:

As per the directions of the Hon'ble Punjab & Haryana High Court in CWP no.7639 of 1995 - Namit Kumar versus Chandigarh Administration and others, the pressure horn or the musical/multi-toned horn of the vehicle shall be confiscated by the enforcement officer at the time of challan. The fact of the confiscation should be mentioned on the challan form and the confiscated horn should be duly deposited with the police station having jurisdiction, with appropriate details being recorded in the station diary. The horn should be released only on receipt of superdari orders issued by courts having jurisdiction.

Horn prohibited:

The regional transport authority may, by notification published in the official gazette or in one or more newspaper in circulation in the area and by the erection of suitably placed traffic sign no. M18 as set forth in the part a of the first schedule to the MVA'88, prohibit the use by drivers of motor vehicles of any horn or any other device for giving audible warning in any area during such hours as may be specified by him in the notification:

Provided that when the regional transport authority prohibits the use of any horning or other device for giving audible warning during certain specified hours, he shall cause a suitable notice, in english and hindi language to be affixed below the traffic sign setting forth the hours within which such use is prohibited.

Rule 170(2), Haryana Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993

The district magistrate may, by notification published in the official gazette or in one or more newspaper in circulation in the area and by the erection of suitably placed traffic sign no. 7 as set forth in the fifth schedule to the act (MVA'88), prohibit the use by drivers of motor vehicles of any horn or any other device for giving audible warning in any area during such hours as may be specified by him in the notification: Provided that when the District Magistrate prohibits the use of any horning or other device for giving audible warning during certain specified hours, he shall cause a suitable notice, in English and Hindi languages to be affixed below the traffic sign setting forth the hours within which such use is prohibited.

Rule 178 (2), Chandigarh Motor Vehicles Rules, 1990

Note: the sounding of horns is generally prohibited in the vicinity of hospitals, courts and educational institutions.

Compulsory sound horn:

The approaching motorists get the indication to 'compulsorily sound the horns' of their vehicles by the erection of a suitably placed mandatory traffic sign, which is specified at serial no.m35 of part a of schedule i to the motor vehicles act 1988. The traffic sign is shown below:

Note: the traffic sign for 'compulsory sounding of horns' is generally used on hill roads that involve extremely sharp, often blind turns.

Penal provisions:

The violation of the provisions of rule 170 (1) or 114a (ii) (vii) of Haryana Motor Vehicles rules, 1993 / rule 178 (1), Chandigarh Motor Vehicles rules, 1990 or of regulation 21(i) (ii) (iv) the rules of the road regulations, 1989 or of rule119 (1)(2)(3), CMVR'89 would constitute an offence punishable under S.177 MVA'88.

The violation of the aforementioned provisions may also be charged under s.190 (2) MVA'88 that prescribes a stiffer punishment for the offender, especially in cases of use of pressure horns or unduly loud or shrill horns.

Any person who drives or causes or allows to be driven, in any public place a motor vehicle, which violates the standards prescribed in relation to …control of noise… shall be punishable

  • For the first offence with a fine of Rs.1000/- and
  • For any second or subsequent offence with a fine of Rs.2000/-
Section 190 (2), mva'88
The blowing of pressure horns/musical horns or the sounding of horns in zones declared as silence zones (by the competent authority) may not only be an offence under MVA'88, but also be in violation of the noise pollution (regulation and control) rules, 2000 and be punishable under section 39, air pollution control act, 1981.

Section 39, Air Pollution Control Act, 1981
Penalty for contravention of provisions of the air pollution control act, 1981: whoever contravenes any of the provisions of this act or any order or direction issued there-under, for which no penalty has been elsewhere provided in this act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine, which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both, and in the case of continuing contravention, with an additional fine which may extend to five thousand, rupees for every day during which such contravention continues after conviction for the first such contravention.

The Noise Pollution (regulation and control) Rules, 2000:
Rule 3
Ambient air quality standards in respect of noise for different areas/zones:
  • The ambient air quality standards in respect of noise for different areas/zones shall be such as specified in the schedule annexed to these rules.
  • The state government may categorize the areas into industrial, commercial, residential or silence areas/zones for the purpose of implementation of noise standards for different areas.
  • The state government shall take measures for abatement of noise including noise emanating from vehicular movements and ensure that the existing noise levels do not exceed the ambient air quality standards specified under these rules.
  • An area comprising not less than 100 metres around hospitals, educational institutions and courts may be declared as silence area/zone for the purpose of these rules.
Schedule (see rule 3(l) …)
Ambient air quality standards in respect of noise
Area code Category of area/Zone Limits in db (a) leq *
Day time Night time
(a) Industrial area 75 70
(b) Commercial area 65 55
(c) Residential area 55 45
(d) Silence zone 50 40
  • Daytime shall mean from 6.00 a.m. To 10.00 p.m.
  • Nighttime shall mean from 10.00 p.m. To 6.00 a.m.
  • Silence zone is defined as an area comprising not less than 100 metres around hospitals, educational institutions and courts. The silence zones are zones, which are declared as such by the competent authority.
    Note: "authority" means any authority or officer authorised by the central government, or as the case may be, the state government in accordance with the laws in force and includes a district magistrate, police commissioner, or any other officer designated for the maintenance of the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise under any law for the time being in force. Rule 2(c), noise pollution rules 2000.
  • Mixed categories of areas may be declared as one of the four above-mentioned categories by the competent authority.
    *db (a) leq denotes the time weighted average of the level of sound in decibels on scale a which is relatable to human hearing.
  • A "decibel" is a unit in which noise is measured.
  • "a", in db (a) leq, denotes the frequency weighting in the measurement of noise and corresponds to frequency response characteristics of the human ear.
  • Leq: it is an energy mean of the noise level, over a specified period
Rule 6 (ii)

Consequences of any violation in silence zone/area: whoever, in any place covered under the silence zone/area commits any of the following offence; he shall be liable for penalty under the provisions of the air pollution control act, 1981 blows a horn either musical or pressure.

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