Horn honking should be eliminated from security and convenience technology and restored to its intended purpose as a warning device in all next generation vehicles.
Remote entry honking is filling residential neighborhoods with unnecessary noise as drivers announce:
“My car is locked!” (Honk!) and “My car is unlocked!” (Honk! Honk!) This occurs hundreds of times each day in many areas, and is not limited to urban settings.
The horn’s function is to startle, command attention, and warn of imminent danger. Additional scientific inquiry is not required to prove that horn honking evokes a physiological stress response. That is why noise ordinances prohibit unnecessary honking. But in spite of laws and common sense, most vehicles
are now equipped with factory-installed technology that uses honking even though there are quieter options available. Many vehicle owners opt for the honk confirmation without considering its impact on neighbors, pedestrians, and other drivers.
At this time, horn honking is emerging in newer “convenience” technologies as well:
Honking to “announce” vehicle remote start
Honking remotely with a phone app to “relock” already locked doors
even though the car is miles away and the driver won’t hear the confirmation sound
Honking is used in vehicle “panic alarm” and “car finder” technology
Honking is featured as a turn-signal “warning” sound in electric vehicles
Auto manufacturers spend billions of dollars to build greener vehicles. Green innovations include vehicles that run quietly and feature quiet interiors. This effort should be broadened by removing unnecessary, intrusive, stress-inducing horn honking from remote entry and other convenience-based technologies. Otherwise, a vehicle will not meet the truest green standards.
You may not have experienced the effects of this technology. But if you move to a new home, if a new neighbor moves in, if your child is assigned to a college dorm that faces a parking lot, if a loved one moves to an apartment facing a street with any kind of parking turnover, you or someone you care about could easily experience its impact. None of us who are currently affected by this technology ever dreamed that this noise would become part of our daily lives.
Eliminate horn honking from convenience-based vehicle technologies
We believe that the auto industry should recognize “convenience technology” horn honking as environmentally backwards.
We request that horn honking be restored to its intended purpose as a warning device in all next generation vehicles. Auto manufacturers should eliminate horn use with remote entry, remote start, phone apps, “panic alarm” and “car finder” technology, turn-signal warning noise, and any technologies that may be in the pipeline. We also believe that noise that is added to electric vehicles to comply with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 should only sound like natural engine noise.
We request limiting confirmation sounds to options that do not engage the horn, such as flashing lights, sounds of locks engaging and disengaging, a low-decibel chirp or chime that does not engage the horn, or no sound at all. Most of these confirmation methods are already offered as options with most vehicles.
We request that auto manufacturers adjust as yet unsold vehicles in the same manner.
We request that the National Automobile Dealers Association require dealerships to permanently remove the honking confirmation option as part of the association’s Green Checkup Guidelines.
We request that dealerships adjust current owners’ confirmation settings upon request, free of charge, without threats of voiding of warranties, without threatening that the security system
will no longer work, and without telling vehicle owners that it cannot be done. Although setting adjustments are mentioned in owner manuals, some owner manual instructions are inaccurate. Some owners have been told that they are stuck with honk confirmation, only to find out later that they are in fact able to remove it.
Noise caused by “convenience technology” enters private homes day and night. It interrupts sleep, work, conversations, studying, prayer, and relaxation. It startles pedestrians and cyclists, confuses drivers, and introduces traffic noise in communities that have no traffic. Many vehicles delay the confirmation sound, so the owner is safely ensconced at home when the horn blasts, causing passing pedestrians to jump. Was this part of your environmental vision? Is this “greener, safer, and smarter”?
There is good news, though. This problem is fixable because it is largely controlled by computer programming, and the fix isn’t costly. Quieter confirmation options are already configured in the existing software. The auto industry should live up to its environmental discourse by recognizing and addressing this issue. In the interest of a broader environmental vision, please eliminate
stress-inducing technology from your products.