NYC Noise Code

NYC overhauled its noise code in 2007 and it’s been in effect since then. You can find it here.

In particular and most relevant to this blog:

“Horn Honking

The use of vehicle horns is not permitted except as a warning in situations of imminent danger.



    Honking your horn is illegal, except in emergencies.”

SEE?? It’s there in the NYC Code! And yet, no one adheres to the code and the police don’t seem to be ticketing drivers–at least not in my neighborhood–for the offense.

Why isn’t this law enforced? As I type this the cacophony of truck and car horns blares outside my window and registered at 87db and 90db at its highest moments (and that’s registered from my apartment window. Imagine what it would be if I was on the sidewalk [which I will do shortly and post those results]).

Trucks (and cars) double park all along Ditmas Avenue disrupting the flow of traffic (why aren’t they ticketed??). Cars, buses and trucks honk because of these afformentioned double parkers, they honk at sanitation trucks, they honk at school buses, they honk because the light just turned green a millionth of a second ago and a driver hasn’t reacted quickly. The noise level varies, but lasts for hours at a time. Thirty seconds cannot go by without honking.

This is a residential neighborhood. This noise is ridiculous and beyond excessive.

#noisybrooklyn #NYPD66Pct #noise



As I sit in my apartment attempting to work from home, I’m listening to the ongoing sounds of cars honking. I live in the back of an apartment building in a residential neighborhood. It’s 10:50am and the honking started at around 8am. The honking times will vary, but it is a constant in the afternoons from about 3pm until 7pm. The noise is worse in the summer when I have my windows open. Sometimes the cacophony is so terrible I have to resort to closing my windows and switching on the A/C and even then I can STILL hear the honking. There used to be signs posted on the street corners (I’m sure you’ve seen them): “No honking, fine: $300.” Those signs were removed back in 2014. I’ve contacted my city councilman’s office, filed complaints with the NYC DOT and 311. My local police precinct is about to get a visit from yours truly.

I contacted my city councilman’s office last year and this is the response I received:
“Thank you for writing to Council Member Lander regarding car honking on _____ Avenue and 5th Street. Have you had a chance to report the missing signage to 311? If not, the best way to originate this complaint is through the Department of Transportation’s online webform: If you’d like, you can send me the reference number, and I can follow-up with the agency to see if we can get some clarity on why the signage was removed and if it can return.”

I contacted the DOT and this is the reply I received:
“Thank you for your correspondence concerning signs prohibiting excessive noise caused by horn honking.

New York City Traffic Rules prohibit the honking of vehicle horns except when necessary to warn a person or animal of danger. Therefore, signs are not needed for this purpose. These signs detract attention away from essential traffic control devices. Additionally, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the federal standard for signs, signals, and pavement markings in the United States, does not recognize these signs. As a result, the Department has commenced the removal of existing “Don’t Honk” signs.

Unnecessary noise is a violation of the New York City Noise Control Code and carries a fine of $350. Police officers and traffic enforcement agents should issue summonses to any vehicles found to be in violation of these regulations. If you believe that there is an ongoing problem of motorists illegally honking horns at this location, please contact the local precinct. You can send an email message to the Police Commissioner by going to For individual precinct information, go to

You may also want to bring this problem to the attention of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which oversees the Noise Control Code. You may send your inquiry directly to the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection by going to Other contact information is available at

Thank you for your concern in this matter.”

So, all those signs that were posted throughout the five boroughs were removed. That’s genius. I also filed a complaint with 311 as well and still nothing has happened. I am filing a complaint with the DEP as well.

I realize that I live in a congested city with impatient drivers, but the noise level is obnoxious and disruptive to people who live in neighborhoods. We shouldn’t have to put up with it.