Take action! Write!

Tell automakers, industry leaders, safety regulators, consumer advocates, and policy makers that it's time to "silence the horns." Automakers' contact information is here > > > >

Introducing a friendly, positive letter-writing campaign

May 2017 This recent article describes an initiative that combines education, technology, and enforcement - a progressive approach to dealing with noise pollution. The only room for improvement would be mention of horn-based lock signaling in the educational component.
If you agree, please send Councillor McKeen a brief, friendly letter or email. You can use the form on the contact page, but email or postal letters are preferred. Suggest that Councillor McKeen include mention of lock signal horn honking and "car finding" horn honking with smart phones and key fobs. We suggest using your own story and words and not mentioning the Silence the Horns project. Consider including mention of this message as an example of an area of Canadian government already addressing the technology.
Please begin and end your communication by thanking Councillor McKeen for this effort!

We have Post-It Notes!

March 2017 We will post a new action alert within a few weeks, although we don't plan to invest time writing to elected leaders during the current administration. If you are anxious to get to work, we suggest you make use of our Post-It Notes to politely let your others know that they have options other than honking to signify lock status, or advocate for quieter soundscapes by using an "I Quiet" bumper sticker! You can buy Post-It Notes or bumper stickers by writing to this email to order supplies or to receive templates so that you can create your own materials to print.

The Purple Folder writing campaign has ended, but you can contact President Obama through his website or through Twitter.

Horn-based vehicle alerts and the purple folder

When President Obama isn't traveling, he regularly spends hours alone, reading. When he does this, there is a purple folder containing ten letters received by regular mail and selected by his staff. If you read online instructions and suggestions for writing, you will notice that the letters sent by regular mail are the ones that make it into that folder.

Whether you write by email or regular mail, there is less than a week to do this, so please do so now. Write a one-page letter to President Obama and let him know that there is one noisy but ignored issue that he should weigh in on. Focus your letter on the health or safety related effects of non-emergency horn-based vehicle alerts how they affect you - avoid editorializing about those who use the technology. Some additional suggestions for organizing and writing your letter are here, and contact information including mailing address is here.

Alternatively or in addition, frame the technology in terms of environmental conservation. You can listen to President Obama's Lake Tahoe speech during his recent conservation tour here.

You won't have to spend a lot of space explaining the technology. President Obama has spoken about racially motivated lock actuation in the pre-honking iteration of the technology in a 2013 speech and earlier, and others have written about racially motivated lock actuation with horns and chirps in the ParaPundit forum. (And GM advertising scholars may recall that a Cadillac ad employs playful bullying with the horn sound in a 2013 ad.)

Additionally, President Obama drives a Ford, previously drove a Chrysler, and will be familiar with the fact that these brands use horn honking for lock confirmation and other alert features.

What to say? Ask the president to weigh in. We don't need new laws, because there are already laws on the books among the many highway codes and sound ordinances throughout the United States and Canada that classify horn honking as a signal to warn drivers and pedestrians of imminent danger.

You don't have to mention the Silence the Horns project, as long as you are asking President Obama to add to the discourse on the importance of addressing environmental noise and its impacts on our health and our ecosystem. But do consider briefly mentioning horn sounds with lock signaling as a preventable and confusing form of sonic litter.

The Consumer Reports letter drive has ended, but it isn't too late to let the magazine know what you think of its coverage of horn-based acoustic alerts. The magazine published a Car Strategist column about acoustic lock alert in the Road Report section of the May 2015 issue, and an online version was published in April. This is the first time the magazine has addressed this family of techologies since a 2011 Chevy volt review. The article is a good start, but only addresses behavioral aspects of dealing with the problem, stopping short of suggesting that automakers who still use the horn consider using available quieter options. The article also doesn't mention new horn-based scenarios that have been added in the last few years by certain automakers.

If you want to send feedback, use the letter to the editor form. In the drop-down menus, select "Consumer Reports Magazine" and then select "Letter to the Editor." Begin with "Dear Editor" and mention in the first paragraph that you are writing about the article "Noises Off!" in the May issue of the magazine.

If you experience a technical issue where the form will not submit, or if you receive an e-mail from customer service recommending that you contact the Better Business Bureau, start over and resubmit a few minutes later. Only press the "Submit Query" button once.

You can also send feedback to the auto writers using the e-mail address carstrategist (at) and signing the communication with your full name and complete address, and better still, include your phone number.

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