Monday, October 26, 2009

Sea of sounds

Sea of sounds


Ponnu Elizabeth MathewFirst Published : 26 Oct 2009 05:26:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 26 Oct 2009 07:19:47 AM IST
BANGALORE: Over three million vehicles and a bevy of sounds. Some shrill, some unremitting and some simply loud. About fifty years ago, who could comprehend the Garden City of India engulfed in a sea of such sounds? The burgeoning number of vehicles in Bangalore has made it one of the noisiest cities to live in. With the decibel level of traffic increasing by the day, even crossing the maximum permissible limit of 80 decibels, one has begun to wonder whether their eardrums are safe after all.
According to Rules of the Road Regulations, 1989, a driver of a vehicle shall not sound the horn needlessly or continuously or more than necessary to ensure safety and also not sound the horn in silence zones. Despite the many ‘no honking’ signs places outside the many silence zones in the city, the urge to hit those sound boxes seems to be never on the decline.
According to Section 119 of the Rules of the Road Regulations, 1989, every driver shall drive the vehicle in conformity with the traffic sign boards and shall comply with all the directions given to him by any police officer for the time being engaged in the regulation of traffic.
As per the law, people honking without cause at silence zones (hospitals, schools and likewise) are liable for prosecution, but the rules are not implemented completely considering the fact that there are more serious traffic concerns to address in the city. The signal on St John’s Road is an example of neglected sign board.
The ‘no honking’ sign placed in clear view of motorists just opposite St Francis Xavier Cathedral seems to be a matter of mere ornamentation.
“I understand it’s a busy road, with a lot of traffic.
Honking may be necessary sometimes.
But too much of it, especially around silence zones is irritating,” says Rajan, a motorist.
There is a problem that lies beyond the realm of honking — noisy engines. Driving under the impression that tampering with silencers can increases mileage, autorickshaw drivers do just that to save their fuel. Apart from that, it’s also an attention-grabber for many of them.
Remember, damage to health begins at 75 decibels. Hearing damage begins at 90 decibels, and permanent loss of hearing in a single exposure can be caused at 120 decibels. Silence is golden, especially around silence zones.

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