The city that never sleeps can finally get some rest!
The Taxi and Limousine Commission warned cabbies yesterday that from now on, they have to stop driving people crazy by incessantly honking at all hours of the day and night, at everything from Manhattan traffic congestion to slow-moving tourists.
Cabbies can be busted by NYPD cops or TLC inspectors for brazenly blowing off city noise regulations.
Every unnecessary honk will cost a driver $350.
Passengers have been asked to get in on the act by ratting out honking hacks to 311.
A message from TLC chief David Yassky popped up yesterday on hacks’ vehicle communications system, which the TLC uses to send messages to the city’s 13,000 drivers.
“Drivers — remember that honking is against the law except when warning of imminent danger!” read the message.
The TLC’s message also exhorts the hacks to “be a good neighbor and save yourself a $350 summons — honk ONLY in an emergency!”
Emergencies, as defined by the law, include tooting to avoid a collision and to warn someone of a dangerous situation.
“Cabbies are the absolute worst when it comes to honking. I rarely ever see a regular person driving around and honking,” said Maria Drummond, 21, who lives in Brooklyn Heights. “And it’s dangerous! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been crossing the street and got so shocked by a cab’s honk that I dropped my phone or purse. It’s so annoying,”
The restrictions on honking must be news to countless hacks, who use their horns for everything from luring fares to expressing gridlock anger.
“This has been an ongoing, nagging concern for as long as I’ve been a New Yorker,” said Yassky, a city native.
Amazingly, it was a single e-mail to the TLC from one fed-up downtown Manhattan resident that moved the agency to issue the demand.
The letter read, “There’s always taxis honking outside my window. Can you do something about it?” Yassky said.
Yassky explained that he was aware of the widespread problem — but that e-mail, he said, “crystallized” the suffering so many were enduring because of what he called “horn abuse.”
“It’s something that regular New Yorkers care about,” said Yassky.
“Horn honking is a form of pollution.”
Unfortunately, it’s also something that’s hard to fix.
Enforcing traffic violations against horn abusers is tough, since it’s often hard to figure out the culprit among the traffic masses. Both police officers and TLC agents can enforce the rule.
Previous police estimates found that only about 400 honking summonses are given out a year by the NYPD.
Yassky said he hopes yesterday’s message will remind drivers to keep it down. But judging by last night’s rush-hour traffic, it didn’t.
In Times Square, the crossroads of congestion, one cabby leaned on his horn to bully a pedestrian who dawdled in front of his vehicle after the light had turned green.
A short while later, another cab in Times Square honked because the hack in front of him stopped to pick up a passenger.
Most said horn honking was as much as part of the job as lead-footing it through yellow lights and cutting off their colleagues.
“There is no driving like New York City,” said cabby Bocar Thiam, 39, who lives in Brooklyn.
As if to a prove his point, a truck in front of him slowly drove through traffic — infuriating the experienced hack.
“There is no car in front of him!” he screamed at the back of the truck in exasperation. “At times like this, you need to honk!”
But keeping the rule in mind, he didn’t.
But that’s not always possible, Thiam said. “In this city you need to,” he said.
In fact, none of the drivers The Post spoke to planned on changing their horn-loving ways.
“I drive 65,000 miles a year,” said Umar Khitab, who has been driving for five years. “Driving all day long, it gets to you. It can be very annoying psychologically.”
No message from the TLC would change his behavior, he said.
“If someone is blocking you, you have to honk. There is no way you’re never going to honk,” he said.
He said everyone in the city takes out their frustration with their horns, but it’s harder for cabbies because they are on the road so much.
“Cabdrivers honk more because they’re more frustrated than a regular driver who only goes eight miles a day,” he said.
Driver Amine Boussalem, 31, said he tries to limit his honks but sometimes can’t because pedestrians traipse right in front of his vehicle.
“Usually, I don’t like to honk, but I have to when people are crossing in front of me in the middle of the intersection and don’t look,” he said.
But some relief is in sight.
The Nissan NV 200, the so-called Taxi of Tomorrow that will replace the Crown Victoria, features a “low-annoyance horn.”
Additional reporting by Helen Freund, Erin Calabrese, Amber Sutherland and Gillian Kleiman