You've seen Mumbai Police's viral video, now get ready for punishment signal

Updated: Feb 04, 2020, 09:34 IST | Diwakar Sharma, Faizan Khan | Mumbai

Mumbai traffic police to install decibel-driven traffic signals at 10 junctions across the city, where if you honk louder, you will wait longer

The signal resets if noise crosses 85 dB
The signal resets if noise crosses 85 dB

Mumbaikars have the dubious distinction of being among the worst car honkers, with mind-numbing noise amid the city's punishing traffic being an everyday affair. In an effort to put an end to this, the Mumbai police have decided to install The Punishing Signal — a signal fitted with decibel meters that will reset the signal and make red lights stay on for as long as the noise stays higher than 85 dB.

After several test drives at major junctions over November and December last year, Mumbai police released a video for the latest campaign, #HonkResponsibly, on its official Twitter handle last week. The campaign is based on the simple principle of 'the more you honk, the longer you wait'.

Crawford Market junction will be the first to get the signal. PIC/SURESH KARKERACrawford Market junction will be the first to get the signal. Pic/ Suresh Karkera

At present, Mumbai police have identified 10 noisy junctions in the city — Crawford Market, BMC head office, JJ hospital, Worli Naka, Dadar TT, Marine Drive, Haji Ali, Bandra court, Juhu circle and Andheri's Bisleri junction.

"The needless honking causes noise pollution. Our priority is to install decibel meters at junctions near hospitals and educational institutions in the city. We have identified a few junctions suffering from reckless honking. A survey is also being conducted to identify more such junctions," said an IPS officer.

Joint Commissioner of Police (traffic) Madhukar Pandey said, "The decibel meters will be installed at major traffic signals within a week."

Juhu circle is one of the junctions which will get Mumbai police’s Punishing Signal. PIC/SAMEER MARKANDEJuhu circle is one of the junctions which will get Mumbai police's Punishing Signal. Pic/ Sameer Markande

Deputy Commissioner of Police (operations) Pranay Ashok told mid-day that it is the first time in the world that decibel meters are being connected to traffic signals to discourage needless honking. "It is a unique model which no country has adopted before. I am sure this initiative will be widely adopted by cities and countries."

The campaign is a brainchild of Commissioner of Police (CP) Sanjay Barve and Pandey.

CSMT junction will also get the Punishing Signal. PIC/SURESH KARKERACSMT junction will also get the Punishing Signal. Pic/ Suresh Karkera

A senior police officer told mid-day that reckless honking has been inconveniencing motorists at the traffic signals. "If the traffic signal is red, everyone waits for it to turn green. But the moment it turns green, motorists/motorcyclists trailing behind start honking needlessly. This often causes verbal fights on the road that led to traffic congestion. Now, if the reading in the decibel meter exceeds 85 dB, traffic signal's timer will reset automatically. So, keep honking if you want, but only if you also want to wait longer at the signal," said another officer.

Screen grabs of Mumbai police’s video for The Punishing SignalScreen grabs of Mumbai police’s video for The Punishing Signal

"After conducting trials in November and December, we uploaded a video on Twitter to see Mumbaikars' response. The video was widely circulated and we have received an amazing response from Mumbaikars and even from the international public. Once all locations are identified, the decibel meters will be connected to the signalling system," said Ashok.

Screen grabs of Mumbai police’s video for The Punishing SignalScreen grabs of Mumbai police’s video for The Punishing Signal

A senior police officer told mid-day that the first such device will be installed at the Crawford Market junction near the office of the Commissioner of Police.

Screen grabs of Mumbai police’s video for The Punishing SignalScreen grabs of Mumbai police’s video for The Punishing Signal

Another IPS officer said that noise levels go up especially during festivals. "We generally receive more complaints during festivals. Our officers visit locations after complaints are made to the control room or on Twitter and action is taken against violators. Yet we are pulled up by the high court as there are many anti-noise activists who approach the court," the officer said.

Activist speak

Anti-noise activist Sumaira Abdulali commended #HonkResponsibly and Mumbai police's video.

"A decibel meter was a long-standing demand. For the first time I can see the traffic police talking about enforcement. I think people will understand now why honking is bad. But ultimately, police's role is to ensure enforcement. They will have to maintain their campaign just the way they have successfully discouraged drunk driving, driving without seat belt and helmet-less riding."

Sumaira Abdulali, activistSumaira Abdulali, activist

Abdulali also said threw light on tackling illegal horns, which are too loud. "Also, it is easy to apprehend those who honk continuously at a traffic signal. Hence, police should devise a mechanism to identify such people. They can do a panchnama of the spot to book the offender," she added.

10
No. of noisy junctions identified by the Mumbai police

Screen grabs of Mumbai police’s video for The Punishing Signal

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