In today's Obvious News, police give out just 400 tickets for horn blowing every year, despite noise being one of the top 311 complaints. And the signs warning of a $350 fee for honking, which cost the city $51 to put up, don't seem to be doing much. Transportation consultant Sam Schwartz told NY1 that not only are the signs "laughable," but that honking doesn't even do anything. "It's not going to change the world in one bit, except increase our blood pressure, the blood pressure of other drivers, the blood pressure of the pedestrians."
At over 1,000 locations in the city it is illegal to honk your horn unless it's an emergency, but many drivers use them almost as punctuation. One driver said, "A lot of people in front of me, they are not paying attention to signs, on lights, and I have to wake them up." But could the epidemic be getting worse in the age of texting and Twitter? "We're in a technological age of instant answers and we're not used to waiting, so we honk," said one "reformed" honker. Call us crazy, but we're pretty sure New Yorkers have never been too patient when it comes to driving.
We've also been complaining about others honking since at least 1989! In this letter to the NY Times, George A. M. Cross wrote, "Noise pollution is becoming intolerable, especially to those who live in the residential areas of Manhattan, and the most pervasive and unnecessary component is honking. If the New York City government is serious about trying to improve the quality of life, why not introduce a simple rule: if your vehicle is stationary, honking is forbidden. This is the law in England. What reason is there to honk when stationary. Honking is for emergencies." The more things change the more they stay the same, right? Except for the honking penalty—in 1989 the fine was just $125!