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Wednesday, 2 January, 2002, 13:33 GMT
Honking ban for Delhi drivers
Delhi traffic
Delhi is known for its chaotic traffic
By the BBC's Ayanjit Sen in Delhi

Police in the Indian capital Delhi have booked nearly 100 drivers for breaking a ban on using horns at traffic junctions.

The police imposed a ban on using a horn within 100 metres of a traffic signal so as to bring some order to the city's chaotic traffic.

Drivers honk away to glory when they find someone immobile in front of them

Maxwell Pereira, Joint Commissioner Traffic

The ban came into effect on New Year's day.

Delhi has one of the worst traffic records in the country with more than 100 people dying in accidents every month.

There are more than three million vehicles on the city's crowded and pot holed roads, forcing drivers to jockey for space.

Noise levels

Delhi traffic police chief, Maxwell Pereira, told the BBC that normally sound levels on the roads should not exceed 60 decibels.

Delhi policeman
Police have launched an awareness campaign on the ban

But in Delhi it is 80 decibels and heavy vehicles make more noise at about 100 decibels, he said.

Many drivers add to the noise by honking at traffic lights to alert drivers in front that the lights have turned green.

They are a menace, Mr Pereira said.

He said such drivers would now have to pay a fine of 100 Rupees (about $2).

But he said the ban would not apply during an emergency.

Mr Pereira said traffic police had been trying to educate people about the ban through the media for the last two months.

Mixed reaction

There has been a mixed reaction to the move.

Traffic expert Dinesh Mohan termed it as "long overdue".

But the head of the Institute of Road Traffic and Education in Delhi, Rohit Baluja, said the solution lay in lane discipline.

He said that instead of using three lanes, vehicles in Delhi often make five lanes of their own resulting in traffic chaos and the use of horns.

Mr Baluja said traffic intersections were the most likely points of conflict where horns were necessary.

Many traffic experts say Delhi should gradually be divided into silent zones.

Areas near hospitals and educational institutions are already declared silent zones.

But accidents and incidents of road rage have become common in the city.

The city government has been under pressure from non-governmental organisations to make driving safer and less stressful.

See also:

08 Dec 01 | South Asia
Delhi police target drink-drivers
03 Apr 01 | South Asia
Transport mayhem in Delhi
27 Mar 01 | South Asia
Delhi commuters face chaos
04 Apr 01 | South Asia
Delhi commuter chaos eases
05 Jun 01 | South Asia
India launches its first electric car
24 Jun 98 | World
The cost of the city
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