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Old 12-14-2009, 12:41 PM   #1
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Legal Horn Decibels in Florida

I "upgraded" my horn and cannot find a definitive answer in the Florida Statutes about what the legal horn decibels in an automobile are. Does anyone know??? Thanks!

Florida Statute 316.271 is very vague and reads:

316.271 Horns and warning devices.--
(1) Every motor vehicle when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet.
(2) No horn or other warning device shall emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle.
(3) The driver of a motor vehicle shall, when reasonably necessary to ensure safe operation, give audible warning with his or her horn, but shall not otherwise use such horn when upon a highway.
(4) No vehicle shall be equipped with, nor shall any person use upon a vehicle, any siren, whistle, or bell, except as otherwise permitted in this section.
(5) It is permissible but not required that any vehicle be equipped with a theft alarm signal device which is so arranged that it cannot be used by the driver as an ordinary warning signal.
(6) Every authorized emergency vehicle shall be equipped with a siren, whistle, or bell capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 500 feet and of a type approved by the department, but such siren, whistle, or bell shall not be used except when the vehicle is operated in response to an emergency call or in the immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law, in which event the driver of the vehicle shall sound the siren, whistle, or bell when reasonably necessary to warn pedestrians and other drivers of the approach thereof.
(7) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, a trolley may be equipped with a bell, and the bell is not required to be used only as a warning device. As used in this subsection, the term "trolley" includes any bus which resembles a streetcar, which is powered by overhead electric wires or is self-propelled, and which is used primarily as a public conveyance.
(8) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
History.--s. 1, ch. 71-135; s. 4, ch. 86-36; s. 1, ch. 88-91; s. 325, ch. 95-148; s. 203, ch. 99-248.

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Old 08-15-2010, 11:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yvonne
I "upgraded" my horn and cannot find a definitive answer in the Florida Statutes about what the legal horn decibels in an automobile are. Does anyone know??? Thanks!

Florida Statute 316.271 is very vague and reads:

316.271 Horns and warning devices.--
(1) Every motor vehicle when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet.
(2) No horn or other warning device shall emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle.
(3) The driver of a motor vehicle shall, when reasonably necessary to ensure safe operation, give audible warning with his or her horn, but shall not otherwise use such horn when upon a highway.
(4) No vehicle shall be equipped with, nor shall any person use upon a vehicle, any siren, whistle, or bell, except as otherwise permitted in this section.
(5) It is permissible but not required that any vehicle be equipped with a theft alarm signal device which is so arranged that it cannot be used by the driver as an ordinary warning signal.
(6) Every authorized emergency vehicle shall be equipped with a siren, whistle, or bell capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 500 feet and of a type approved by the department, but such siren, whistle, or bell shall not be used except when the vehicle is operated in response to an emergency call or in the immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law, in which event the driver of the vehicle shall sound the siren, whistle, or bell when reasonably necessary to warn pedestrians and other drivers of the approach thereof.
(7) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, a trolley may be equipped with a bell, and the bell is not required to be used only as a warning device. As used in this subsection, the term "trolley" includes any bus which resembles a streetcar, which is powered by overhead electric wires or is self-propelled, and which is used primarily as a public conveyance.
(8) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
History.--s. 1, ch. 71-135; s. 4, ch. 86-36; s. 1, ch. 88-91; s. 325, ch. 95-148; s. 203, ch. 99-248.
You are right, FL left the law vague. Which in turn leaves it to the officer's discretion. Then... If you contest it, it is up to the magistrate's definition of "harsh". The interpretations vary by which county you are in. As a general rule though, citations will be written for unlawful use (I.e.- showing off or just being obnoxious) far more often than for just having an "upgraded horn" and using it appropriately. That's the sub-section (3) - usually you'll get written for that... Whether it's a stock horn or dual trumpet air horn!!!

This section is also occasionally used to cite "upgraded horns":

316.3045 Operation of radios or other mechanical soundmaking devices or instruments in vehicles; exemptions.--

(1) It is unlawful for any person operating or occupying a motor vehicle on a street or highway to operate or amplify the sound produced by a radio, tape player, or other mechanical soundmaking device or instrument from within the motor vehicle so that the sound is:

(a) Plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more from the motor vehicle; or

In that one... An air horn can technically be considered an instrument, but is definitely a sound making device. This section is geared toward P.A. and loud stereo... But works too. Moral of the story is: There is always a way to get a ticket... But if you use it responsibly... You are probably fine.

I have a dual-compressor air horn in my Jeep!!'

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Old 09-11-2010, 09:43 PM   #3
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I'll tell you that from a cop's perspective, people need to use their horns more often in dangerous situations. That said, if your blowing your for giggles, you might wind up with a ticket. Like wise train horns, hate 'em and they only belong on trains for the obvious reason. You will get a ticket for a train horn. Otherwise the law is vague. My 2 cents.
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