City and Borough of Juneau
155 S. Seward Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801
tel. 907-586-5240
fax 907-586-5385
http://www.juneau.org

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Q. Howdy! I tried looking up the answer to my question on the Alaska Statutes website, however I feel unless you frequently deal with them, its near impossible to find what your looking for. My question is, is it legal to have an air horn (run by an air compressor) on your vehicle? I imagine there is a decibel level you have to be under? What about a fire engine horn? Any emergency services codes that would be violated? Thank you for your time!


Dear Juneau Resident,

I think almost anyone reading this question is going to have the same logical inquiry....Why? Actually, the answer to that question may very well help determine if you are going to violate the CBJ ordinance about horn type and use or not. If you want a horn that can make an unsuspecting pedestrian walking in front of your vehicle jump out of their shoes and fling a tray of mochas all over themselves and vehicles nearby, you are probably using a horn that is 'unreasonably' harsh. That type of horn is prohibited (see ordinance below). However, if there is a legitimate way the horn makes for safer circumstances for others and its operation is reasonable to your average citizen, you are probably fine. All vehicles are required to have horns but only emergency vehicles can have sirens, bells, or whistles. Obviously the ordinances are a little dated. You would be hard pressed to find a bell or whistle on a modern response vehicle.

You might be able to use a fire engine horn but if there were complaints about the use of the horn, one way an officer could show the horn was unreasonably harsh for a civilian vehicle is to document that it was originally intended for an emergency response vehicle.

Here is the whole city ordinance:

A motor vehicle operated upon a highway or other vehicular way or area, except for snowmobiles, must be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of at least 200 feet, but no horn or other warning device may emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle. The driver of a motor vehicle shall, when reasonably necessary to ensure safe operation, give audible warning with a horn, but may not otherwise use the horn when upon a highway or other vehicular way or area.




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