Horn decibel level to be below 70 dB to help reduce noise pollution.

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Noise from road is the primary environmental noise for general population. While noise from tire running on the road, noise from engine transmission, noise from braking systems, and any other noise created by vehicle general running would be difficult to minimize and that noise is not primary cause of concern. However, the decibel level of the noise from honking is a cause of concern. The upper level of decibel from traffic is 70 dB. Most of the horns are above 70 dB and sometimes can go up to 140 dB. A person starts to get annoyed by decibel level of 50 dB. So, this means that a prolonged exposure to noise from road will lead to health-related issues.

There are multiple of reasons why honking has become necessary of roads in India. The honking on Indian road is not one of rare events which is common in western countries, hence a loud horn is not needed in India. As honking is not limited to warning or intimating danger to others, the premise of the discussion is then that should decibel level of horns be this high as it is today without any major impacts.

 The health-related impacts of prolonged noise from any source are:

1.   Hearing impairment. The threshold of hearing increases when one is exposed to high decibel noise for prolonged time.

2.   Loss of hearing

3.   Ear ache

4.   Tinnitus

5.   Psychological disturbances. Any noise above 50 dB can annoy a person and noise higher than 55 dB can increase the annoyance to a critical level. Prolonged exposure to noise leads to stress which is one of the reasons of hyper tension and cardio vascular diseases.

6.   Lack of development of concentration among children leading to impaired cognition such as reading comprehension, recall. Exposure to noise distracts everyone is general and has biggest impact on children.

The traffic noise impacts people who spend more than 2-3 hours of the road, traffic police, hawkers on the street, shops and residences close to the road. In this effect, its impact lot of people in India. In urban India it is not uncommon for many people to spend more than 3 hours on the road.

The impact of the noise can go undetected. This is because the sensitivity of the human ear can adjust to the noise at higher level.

Apart from health issues, honking in general violates the peace of the area.

The noise pollution from the road also impacts the birds and animals. Birds are not able to nest as they are in fright and flight mode most of the time of the day. Noise from honking also cause abrupt behavior in animals.

 Major challenge in decreasing the horn decibel level is that honking is used for “pass through” more often than used to warning. Due to increase in congestion on road, impatience in drivers leads to repetitive honking in order to ask for passage to go ahead.

Another major challenge is that honking has become a norm on the roads. People expect a moving vehicle would honk in order to more forward, ask for passage, or warn in case of other intentions.However, if the horn decibels are reduced, then people would adapt to the new norms as no one would like to cause an accident on the road.

Government agencies has to use the media to educate the drivers. Special programs in schools as part of the educational curriculum to be developed to make future drivers more responsible.

Vegetation along side the road would also help to absorb noise. Hence where ever possible road sides should be made green. 

Also, stringent laws has to be passed included seizure of the vehicle if the horn dB level has been tampered with.

The purpose of the petition is to urge Government Authorities to enact the guidelines to the automobile manufactures to reduce the decibel level of the horns. This will make the roads less noisy and also save millions from the negative impact on the noise pollution.

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