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Thread: Legal limit to horn volume?

  1. #21
    Moderator Rob MacLennan's Avatar
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    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobbie48 View Post
    Going back to my earlier link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLfD1AFsb1I is funny but....

    My main concern would be if the sound caused someone to swerve and crash could the horn blower be held liable for damages?

    Having a extremely loud horn could be seen as intended action. Even if not held liable would anyone want to be responsible for a car swerving into an innocent party?
    Let's just say I wouldn't want to be the test case, with the current legal climate.
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  2. #22
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    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    If you're no louder than a truck's air horn which is common on the streets, they're going to need Perry Mason to prosecute the case, and he's a defense attorney.

    If on the other hand you are as loud as a train horn, then you're into another category.
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  3. #23

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    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    I still haven't bothered measuring a car horn, but transport canada regulations for train horns are:
    1)The high level horn for emergency use must be at least 110 dBA at 30m forward of the locomotive
    2)The low level horn must be between 96 and 102 dBA at 30m forward of the locomotive.

    A stebel horn (based on their data of 115dB at 2m) will be ~90 dB at 30m. The data I saw didn't say whether this was a-weighted or not. As the marketing wank is strong within them, I assume it is not A-weighted so it looks like a bigger number and at 30m it will be something like 88 dBA. It also said that stebel is ~10 dB louder than a typical car horn which would but a car horn at ~78 dBA at 30m. This seems plausible.

    So if you fit train horns, you will be on the order of 18 to 32 dB louder than the stock horn. Every 10 dB is an apparent doubling of sound level, so the effect would be approximately 4 times to 8 times louder than stock. As people said above, that's not a court case I would want to be on the wrong side of.

  4. #24
    Moderator Rob MacLennan's Avatar
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    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    Quote Originally Posted by Baggsy View Post
    If you're no louder than a truck's air horn which is common on the streets, they're going to need Perry Mason to prosecute the case, and he's a defense attorney.

    If on the other hand you are as loud as a train horn, then you're into another category.
    The use of air horn isn't what I would call common on city streets. Truckers tend to be rather careful where they make use of air horn and if they were to use it in a residential area, they would likely get hit with an unnecessary noise ticket.
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  5. #25

    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    I dunno,, you guys know the laws pretty good.. but I would think a cop would have to hear / witness you use the horn to be able to charge you...

    what kind of horn does a catering truck use.. they are pretty loud.

    my horn makes people jump! it resembles a gut truck horn. ... I don't know who makes it ... it looks like 2 trumpets from a train horn.. small compressor near the battery...
    guys with stebels hear mine and go...W O W ! That is LOUD!!

    then call me names cause I ride HD .. sigh.. with a loud horn ... lol , not loud pipes tho.

  6. #26

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    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    Quote Originally Posted by meester_jamie View Post
    I dunno,, you guys know the laws pretty good.. but I would think a cop would have to hear / witness you use the horn to be able to charge you...
    Since a horn is required, they could force you to prove it works. I don't remember the exact mechanism, whether they could do this road side or force you to get the vehicle inspected. If you had two horns (stock and loud), you have a way out, I don't know how they could force you to use the loud horn.

    Any lunch truck I have seen had a normal horn, just many of them mount them up high instead of in the engine bay.

  7. #27

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    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacLennan View Post
    The use of air horn isn't what I would call common on city streets. Truckers tend to be rather careful where they make use of air horn and if they were to use it in a residential area, they would likely get hit with an unnecessary noise ticket.
    I was talking to a trucker yesterday and the subject of zombies came up. He said it was illegal for him to use his air horns in the city. I asked if it was a law or recommendation and he said "Law". A startled motorist could react in a way that could cause a collision.

  8. #28
    Baggsy's Avatar
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    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    We kids used to get trucks to pull the horn all the time right in the City, that was back in the '60's and '70's though.
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  9. #29
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    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    I'm f'ed. I got dual horns on my bike & car

  10. #30
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    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    It is most certainly not illegal to use our air horns anywhere we damned well please.

    But yes, we do avoid using them in most situations (opting for the city horn instead) as the air horns do scare the crap out of people and more often then not cause them to do dumb things.

    Sadly I don't even honk my air horns anymore for the kids on a school bus who are giving me the "pull the horn" request, or kids standing on the sidewalk etc - had too may cars swerve dangerously in front of me in the past.

    But in the end, if I feel I need it, I can use it whenever I want or need.
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  11. #31
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    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    Quote Originally Posted by PrivatePilot View Post
    It is most certainly not illegal to use our air horns anywhere we damned well please.

    But yes, we do avoid using them in most situations (opting for the city horn instead) as the air horns do scare the crap out of people and more often then not cause them to do dumb things.

    Sadly I don't even honk my air horns anymore for the kids on a school bus who are giving me the "pull the horn" request, or kids standing on the sidewalk etc - had too may cars swerve dangerously in front of me in the past.

    But in the end, if I feel I need it, I can use it whenever I want or need.
    You don't honk for kids? Jerry Reed would have a song about that if he were still alive.

    Last edited by Baggsy; 11-09-2017 at 09:29 PM.
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  12. #32
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    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    Quote Originally Posted by Baggsy View Post
    You don't honk for kids? Jerry Reed would have a song about that if he were still alive.
    15 and 20 years ago I used to, I remember getting a kick out of it myself as a kid, however like I said when it became
    Something that could either cause an accident or a road rage situation, sadly I stopped doing it in most situations.

    Don't get me wrong, if I'm going down a quiet non-residential road somewhere and there are no cars in sight, but a bunch of kids turn around asking for the horn from the sidewalk or whatnot, I will still let it rip.
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  13. #33

    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    I believe the really loud horns on trucks were decades ago labeled as 'country' horns,
    and besides that :/ when do you ever have sufficient time to use your horn to prevent yourself from being in an accident, I've always been too busy riding to avoid it! What do you truly want a super loud horn for; retribution after the fact? because that would constitute inappropriate and probably illegal use, as your vehicles horn is an instrument to issue advanced warning of your approach.

  14. #34

    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    If in doubt; live by the rule that if it's done on a motorcycle and it's fun :/ it's probably already illegal or soon will be.

  15. #35

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    Re: Legal limit to horn volume?

    A commercial driver told me it was against the law to toot the loud one but I could only find a caution regarding use. Then it goes all fuzzy whether loud is a HTA charge or a disturb the peace charge.

    Per the Toronto Star 2015

    Are trucker air horns or ultra-loud “train horns” legal if installed on your car?

    Eric Lai replies:

    Unnecessary noise is prohibited under S. 75 (4) of the Highway Traffic Act. This includes sounding a car horn that makes “unreasonable” noise, with enforcement at police discretion and subject to court interpretation.

    A train horn sounded from a vehicle, because of the excessive volume (that means above the 130-decibel pain threshold, capable of causing permanent hearing loss to others) will likely earn you a ticket anytime, anywhere.

    For an air horn or factory car horn, their lawfully intended purpose is to use them only as reasonably needed for safety. Repeatedly honking for no apparent reason will draw police attention and public ire.

    Many of us are familiar with a car-pool driver who honks early in the morning, waking the entire neighbourhood rather than ringing the doorbell or using a cellphone to discreetly summon the resident. This inconsiderate person could be charged with a noise violation, even for just a single honk.

    Conversely, sounding any audible warning device (even if not “street legal”) would be justified in a true life-and-death situation. For example, warning oncoming traffic of a wrong-way driver, or alerting occupants that their building is on fire.
    Last edited by nobbie48; 11-30-2017 at 02:36 PM.

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