The Taxi and Limousine Commission warned cabbies last week that from now on, they have to stop driving people crazy by incessantly honking at all hours of the day and night, at everything from Manhattan traffic congestion to slow-moving tourists. A message from TLC chief David Yassky popped up yesterday on hacks’ vehicle communications system, which the TLC uses to send messages to the city’s 13,000 drivers.
Cabbies can be busted by NYPD cops or TLC inspectors for brazenly blowing off city noise regulations. Every unnecessary honk will cost a driver $350. Passengers have been asked to get in on the act by ratting out honking hacks to 311.
“Drivers — remember that honking is against the law except when warning of imminent danger!” read the message. The TLC’s message also exhorts the hacks to “be a good neighbor and save yourself a $350 summons — honk ONLY in an emergency!” Emergencies, as defined by the law, include tooting to avoid a collision and to warn someone of a dangerous situation.
The restrictions on honking must be news to countless hacks, who use their horns for everything from luring fares to expressing gridlock anger.
Enforcing traffic violations against horn abusers is tough, since it’s often hard to figure out the culprit among the traffic masses. Both police officers and TLC agents can enforce the rule. Previous police estimates found that only about 400 honking summonses are given out a year by the NYPD.
In a letter to commissioner Yassky, Citizens Committee For New York wrote … “in 2010 we commissioned a study by The New School for Management and Urban Policy to study how community groups could initiate creative ways to combat vehicular noise in their neighborhoods. Vehicular noise, especially from horn honking, is a very relevant issue to New York City residents, who consistently rank this noise as a greater quality of life issue than other types of neighborhood noise. Our study found that community-based vehicular noise-reduction efforts could play a significant role in reducing or eliminating annoying car noise.
In conjunction with your efforts to curb horn honking by New York City’s taxi drivers, we ask that you join us in encouraging all New Yorkers with an interest in making our streets quieter and more livable to apply for a grant from Citizens Committee for New York City. These grants are available to any community group with an idea to improve their neighborhoods – including and especially any ideas to discourage and reduce horn honking.”