Bombay drivers use the horn the way drivers in the rest of the world use the accelerator. The horn is not just a tool for venting frustration, but also a means of signaling your position to pedestrians and other drivers. Honking horns are a constant presence on the streets of this city. Recently a group of activists got together and decided to promote “No Honking Day” in Bombay. The local section of the newspaper printed occasional reminders of the event, and some banners were (not very prominently) displayed in our neighborhood. This morning I read that “No Honking Day” was yesterday. I hadn’t noticed, but some student researchers reported that the noise level had dropped to about 80 decibels in some parts of the city. Outside of hospitals– which are permanently designated “no honking zones”– noise levels were slightly lower, around 75 decibels. Mumbai police reported issuing over 6000 tickets to drivers who used their horn for too long, with too much intensity, or in restricted areas. The streets this afternoon were uncharacteristically quiet.
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