• Kenneth Powell

Is Using Train Horns Legal on a Regular Motor Vehicle? | (Train Horn for Car, Illegal?)

Horns help people notify other drivers they are going to make a move or that they should be careful.

Despite that, not everyone follows that, so they start honking because they feel like it or because they are annoyed by someone. Therefore, there are some regulations on the horns people can have on their cars since honking for minutes with the loudest horn one can find would cause noise pollution.

Regardless of that, many people don't know what horns they can have on their vehicles, so they don't know if they should buy air horns, train horns, or any other warning device. Can people use a train horn in a regular motor vehicle? Readers can find out on this page!

No one wants to commit a misdemeanor or have an infraction because they didn't know they couldn't have a train horn on their motor vehicle or for any other reason, so the best people can do is contact St Louis MO auto accident attorneys as soon as they have any law-related concern.

The Powell Law Firm's main goal is to help victims of the negligence of any other party in a personal injury case to get the justice they deserve. However, they can also help people find the answers to some of their questions about the law, so there's no need to wait to contact it and ask for its help.

What's the Difference Between Regular Air Horns and Train Horns?

What's the Difference Between Regular Air Horns and Train Horns?

As many know, drivers have the right of having any theft alarm signal device or any other warning device. That device may help them find the actual or suspected violator of the law who was trying to steal something from their motor vehicle.

Nonetheless, that doesn't mean people can have any warning devices that produce a harsh sound that causes noise pollution. Air horns are the regular warning device capable of emitting sound audible to all people without causing any negative effects on people's health most cars have.

Having air horns on a motor vehicle is legal, and people can use them as a theft alarm signal device or an ordinary warning signal in case something happens. Train horns, on the other hand, are louder warning devices only an authorized emergency vehicle can have.

The main difference between the two warning devices is an air horn is not as loud as a train horn, and it has a higher pitch than a train horn. Some air horns even have unique custom sounds.

Train horns, on the other hand, have low tones and are way louder than any other warning devices. The name train horn comes from the similarities these horns have to the sound horns in trains make since most train horns sound like a locomotive.

Only trucks and any other authorized emergency vehicle can have a train horn since they are not capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions, so having them on regular cars would cause noise pollution.

Is Using a Train Horn on a Car Illegal?

People having motor vehicles, such as motorcycles or cars, can drive all day close to pedestrians and other drivers. If the driver of such vehicle needed to let another driver they are going to pass, they would need to horn, which is an audible warning.

Honking with a train horn would only confuse other people and make them uncomfortable since they don't expect an unreasonably loud or harsh sound to come from such vehicle. Causing that much of a commotion is dangerous for people, and that makes train horns illegal on regular cars.

Nevertheless, depending on state laws, some circumstances make using train horns legal on the road. If, for example, such motor vehicle mentioned before was using the audible warning in response to an emergency call, it would be appropriate.

Regardless of that, the definition of what an emergency call is depends on the state where it happens.

The driver of a motor vehicle can also honk such horn when if it was needed to ensure safe operation. Vehicles in charge of performing human organ harvesting or transporting medical personnel can also use this alarm system.

Emergency vehicles or cars in the immediate pursuit of the actual or suspected violator of the law can also use a train horn. However, the only ones who can engage in the immediate pursuit of a person like that are the police personnel.

A commercial vehicle or a passenger vehicle can't have a train horn as their car horn since it's not a reasonable warning, even if it's to warn pedestrians of something. Despite that, some states allow trucks or semi-trucks to have a train horn installed if they don't use it.

The drivers of such vehicle could use a horn that is not capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions or that is unreasonably loud if that sound was part of one of the exceptions named before.

Where Is Using Train Horns Legal?

Where Is Using Train Horns Legal?

As was mentioned before, some states allow drivers to have train horns installed or to even honk them under some conditions.

California, for example, is one of the states that allow drivers to have train horns installed on a semi-truck if it's attached to the air brake system. Texas, on the other hand, will fail people's annual inspection of motor vehicles if inspectors find a train horn in the vehicle.

States such as Virginia need all warning devices that make a loud or harsh sound to be approved by the superintendent. Nonetheless, people can use train horns as a part of a fire alarm or as an anti-theft system.

What most states agree on is that the maximum legal decibel level for regular cars and motor vehicles goes from 100 to 110. Train horns go from 130 to 150 decibels, so people can't use them to warn pedestrians under normal conditions.


While many don't pay attention to the horns their cars have, some people could be buying a train horn at this moment without knowing they could get in trouble for it. No one should be at risk of doing those things, so people with any concerns about law regulations in their city should contact the Powell Law Firm to help them with that. They can help assist clients with car-related concerns such as determining if it's illegal to have led lights inside your car or if it's illegal to use an expired car seat.