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Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai
March 2020

Drivers in India are accustomed to using their horns liberally, whether they’re warning another vehicle to speed up or move aside, berating a driver who didn’t follow proper etiquette, expressing annoyance at a traffic jam, or merely greeting a friend. The constant honking and beeping creates such a loud sound in big cities that earplugs are almost a necessity.

Thankfully, one city is trying to do something about this noise pollution. Mumbai police recently installed decibel meters at a few intersections, along with signs that said, “Honk More Wait More.”

If noise greater than 85 decibels was detected during a red signal, the signal did not turn green. The police shared a video showing the frustration of motorists as their honking backfired on them.

“This is what we wanted to tell them: Honking or making noise doesn’t move the traffic,” Pranaya Ashok, a Mumbai police spokesman, told the New York Times. “The traffic takes its own time to move, O.K.?”

After testing the decibel meters in November and December, the police are discussing how to implement it on a wider scale.

“Honking is a very bad and indisciplined traffic act,” Ashok said. “It sours the ears of a normal person.”

Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.

[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com. We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]

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