Pigouvian in-kind time horn tax in Mumbai

For the Mumbai’s perpetual honkers, who love to blare the horns of their vehicles even when the traffic signal is red, the Mumbai Traffic Police has quietly come up with an unique initiative to discipline them in order to curb the alarming rise in the noise pollution levels in the country’s commercial capital.

From Friday (January 31, 2020), it has installed decibel meters at certain select but heavy traffic signals to deter the habitual honkers through a campaign named ‘The Punishing Signal’.

Joint Police Commissioner (Traffic) Madhukar Pandey said that the decibel monitors are connected to traffic signals around the island city, and when the cacophony exceeds the dangerous 85-decibel mark due to needless honking, the signal timer resets, entailing a double waiting time for all vehicles.

Here is the full story, and for the pointers I thank Sheel Mohnot and CL.  Here is a relevant ad for the policy.  Here is Alex on honking as signaling.


That should work.

Ingenious. I am bullish on this helping a lot.

Awesome. Collective punishment is the path to better behavior.

The new squeegee kids will be wielding vuvuzelas.

Or maybe it'll be neighborhood residents banging pots and pans. Waze is sending traffic through my neighborhood? We'll see about that.

A simple fine for honking while stopped should have been sufficient, but I suspect the Indian drivers would not or could not pay the fine. This penalty reminds me of some European soccer stadiums that penalize the home crowd if they chant something offensive.

Bonus trivia: they instituted a new law in Greece where making too much noise with a modified muffler will earn you a fine; measured with a decibel meter.

In Oakland we have a law against whistle tips:

Tragedy of the commons, writ small

Would that Tyler put such effort into reducing the noise pollution in his blog's comments.

Call it the Trump bullshit tax.

Did I write that? I must have become impatient for the halftime show. If I had my wits, I'd have called it the honkie tax. We need to impose higher taxes on honkies.

"I have a very loud horn and I'm willing to be patient. Don't be an asshole and we're all fine."

Long ago, Trujillo, the Dictator of Dominican Republic opened an air-horn facotry and passed a law that all should use it exclusively. The first driver found not to have one was hauled from his vehicle and shot. Soon all had them and the cacophony was terrible, so, a law was passed forbiding their use. As you can guess some poor bastard used his the next day and was hauled formhis truck and shot. Quiet decended.

When was the last time anyone used their car horn for a good reason?

Now this sounds like good government.

I think it was Peltzman who suggested that cars be equipped with spiked steering wheels, to encourage drivers to drive more carefully? Here is that idea, writ large.

But how much does a single car's horn contribute to the overall decibel level? If it's small enough, then just as I don't detect the air pollution that I contribute, I won't detect or care about the extra decibel that I'm adding to the cacaphony.

Wouldn't an in kind horn tax be one that blasted out an even louder noise?

Comments for this post are closed