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If you have been shopping for train horns for your vehicle, you may have wondered whether you can get into any trouble for installing one. While train horns are exceedingly popular accessories, some people consider the sound to be a deafening noise. Before you spend money on one, learning about possible rules that might outlaw them is advisable. Of course, this is not intended to be legal advice, but rather a heads-up to help you make an informed decision.
As far as actual train horns go –meaning the horns on locomotives—they are regulated solely by the Federal Railroad Administration, which is part of the Department of Transportation. This means that, no matter what type of deafening noise they may produce, local authorities have no input regarding where and when they can use them. While these horns have actually gotten louder over the years, fortunately there are laws regarding their usage in residential areas. Regarding train horns on vehicles, however, local law enforcement can regulate their usage. Following are some examples of laws and regulations on train horns used on cars and trucks.
Some cities or counties have noise ordinances that may include loud music, barking dogs and vehicle sounds including horns. Many times, these rules pertain to specific time periods, such as 10 PM to 7 AM, when residents are typically sleeping. Be aware, though, that some ordinances have no set schedules and if a citizen reports a complaint, you may be cited even in the middle of the day. In addition, some homeowners’ associations establish rules regarding noise. If you live in or visit someone in a neighborhood governed by an HOA, these rules may apply to your vehicle.
Reasons for using train horns can also dictate whether it is legal. For instance, if you blow the horn to alert another driver who is about to back into your vehicle, you would have a legitimate purpose. On the other hand, if you drive down a street blaring the horn just to get a rise out of your neighbors, you could end up with a citation.
Before you shop for train horns, take the time to check your city, county and state laws and ordinances. Doing so can save you time and money if you learn they are illegal or have specific rules regarding their use. If you do decide to install one, use common sense when sounding it. For instance, if you know your neighbor has a newborn infant, is ailing or elderly, avoid blowing the horn near their home any time of the day. Be polite, respectful and prudent about the horn so that you can enjoy it free of hassle.