For many years, it has been common practice when taking road trips, that kids and adults alike, will simulate an up-and-down arm movement as they pass a truck driver to get them to blow the horn. The loud, thundering sound of a big semi-truck horn has been a sense of pleasure and laughter for many children throughout the years. However, some states are cracking down on truckers for unnecessary use of horns due to accidents caused when other drivers are startled by the sound.
During heavy traffic, police officers recommend that passengers in vehicles do not pump their arm to ask a semi-truck driver to honk the horn. Drivers in other cars may think the honking is for them, causing them to react–sometimes violently–to avoid the truck, which could then lead to an accident. Because quick maneuvers are especially dangerous to those riding motorcycles, having a driver blow the air horn unnecessarily could be especially hazardous to them.
Due to the safety hazards involved in the unnecessary blowing of horns, many localities have ordinances against doing so except as a sign of danger. According to Cofman Townsley, truck wreck attorney in Missouri, “truck drivers often contribute to truck accidents by breaking the rules of the road”.
Within some localities, truck drivers who blow horns because children or adults make a motion for them to do so could be fined. For example, the city of Kirkwood, Missouri prohibits disturbing noises. Their city ordinance Sec. 17-37(a) states that the sounding of any horn or signaling device on any vehicle on any street except as a danger warning is a violation. Other cities have restrictions related to where horns may be blown, such as away from residential areas or hospital zones. When traveling on interstates, it is often difficult to determine if a hospital or a residential zone is nearby, which is why many experts recommend not asking truckers to blow their horns needlessly.
Truckers claim that they enjoy blowing horns when asked, especially for children, but that they do use caution when doing so. Many say that they will blow the horn if there is little or no traffic, or if the vehicles are traveling on a country road with few residences. When traveling with children, it is recommended that adults explain when it is appropriate to ask a truck driver to blow their horn and when it is not in order to keep children from being disappointed. When the road is fairly empty and there can be no concern that another driver may be startled by the air horn, police officers say that it is acceptable to make the motion for the horn to blow.
Asking a trucker to blow their horn is fun for children when on road trips, but it is important that the adults in the car are aware that there may be ordinances against requesting the air horn to blow, and that there are times when it could cause a hazard on the highway.
In researching this article, freelance writer LaGeris Underwood Bell learned about the potential dangers in a honking truck. However, Cofman Townsley, truck wreck attorney in Missouri is clearly aware of the possible ramifications. Being startled into an accident by a horn blowing is not all fun and games.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/saragoldsmith/2383487011/