Using Car Horns

By Ronak Shah
What are the laws with regard to using car horns? There seems to be more myths than truth out there, so we’re here to clear things up for you!
Car horns are a mandatory requirement in all Australian vehicles; they are designed for drivers to alert other road users and help avoid accidents. They can also be used to greet someone, say goodbye, abuse other drivers or make a lot of noise to amuse yourself. What a lot of people don’t realise though, is that Using Car Horns in this manner or at an inappropriate time is illegal and can attract fines or even the loss of demerit points.
Car horns are supposed to be used to alert other drivers or pedestrians; in certain circumstances, they can help avoid accidents and dangerous collisions. In Australia, it is illegal to misuse a warning device, like a horn. The only differences between the States are the severity of the penalties, which can range from a small monetary fine to the loss of demerit points. Queensland has the lowest at just $66, while New South Wales has one of the highest at $298.
Some States also restrict Using Car Horns in built-up residential areas, and limit their use to when the car is moving. If a police officer believes the repeated use of the horn is unwarranted and unduly distracting other drivers, stiffer penalties could apply.
Because it is a requirement that drivers have complete control of their vehicles at all times, if the horn is unduly distracting other drivers then the perpetrator can be charged with further offences.
Knowing when it’s legal to use a horn is relatively easy – if it is used to alert someone who is in danger of causing an accident or impeding traffic, it is acceptable. The excessive or obnoxious honking of the car horn to get someone’s attention for any reason other than safety is illegal, regardless of the reason. If it wasn’t used for safety purposes the offending driver can be charged.
While charging drivers who are excessively Using Car Horns isn’t high on a policemen’s list of priorities, drivers should be aware that this behaviour can attract penalties. Especially if the act is disturbing the peace, distracting other drivers or isn’t being done to alert other road users to avoid an impending accident.
Regardless of how harmless illegal use of a car horn seems, it can distract drivers and potentially cause an accident, that is why we encourage all drivers to engage in low-risk driving behaviours at all times.
Low-risk driver education is crucial for any company that has staff representing it on the road. At Corporate Driver Training Australia, we have a selection of courses available to encourage good driver behaviour, both on and off the clock.
Contact us today if you would like to find out more, or visit or website at
Using Car Horns
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