Lock horns

Tel Aviv to fine hurry-up honking

With mayor hoping to stamp out ‘bad habit’ at traffic lights, city seeks to penalize drivers NIS 475 if they toot for any reason other than to avoid danger

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Heavy traffic in Tel Aviv, January 23, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Heavy traffic in Tel Aviv, January 23, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The Tel Aviv municipality intends to silence unnecessary honking by drivers in the city with a fine for those who toot their horn in anything other than the danger-averting situations it is designed for.

The NIS 475 ($126) fine for drivers of vehicles caught honking when they shouldn’t is mostly aimed at ending the cacophony at traffic lights, where testy motorists often noisily nudge those in front of them to get a move on, sometimes even before the lights have turned green, Mayor Ron Huldai explained.

On Sunday the municipality’s finance committee approved the measure, which now requires further approval from the city council, relevant government ministries, and the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

“Although the law states that one must honk only when there is real danger, many drivers still honk to encourage the driver in front of them to start driving, even before the traffic light changes to green,” Huldai said in a statement. “This bad habit is about to disappear from our urban lives, with the help of a unique identification technology that was developed especially for this purpose.”

Cameras connected to dozens of microphones will be set up on troublesome Tel Aviv streets to automatically detect outlaw honking and the particular car the discordant sound came from. The owner of the vehicle will then be fined.

Provision for the new fine was added to municipal bylaws against noise pollution that currently state that it is prohibited to honk unless it is to prevent danger, the municipality said in the statement.

“Vehicle horns are a real nuisance that harms the quality of life of those living near the road, as well as pedestrians, and makes the urban space noisy, uninviting, and a real nuisance,” it said.

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