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Laws regarding cars vary depending on the state, county, city, or other local jurisdiction. As a result, many weird driving laws exist. Arkansas has one such strange rule about honking your car horn. Here’s why it’s not a good idea, legally speaking, to honk your horn at night in Arkansas.

What is the Arkansas driving law about car horns?

2018 Chevy Colorado Z71 interior
2018 Chevy Colorado Z71 | Chevrolet

The United States has some odd driving laws. Unsurprisingly, many were enacted over a hundred years ago when automobiles were relatively new. Americans were getting used to cars and what society would look like with them. So, state and local governments created rules to regulate annoying aspects of vehicles.

Cars are loud, and their noise can annoy people who live or work near vehicles. That’s especially true when the source of the racket is a car horn, which doesn’t need to be used often, if at all. That’s why Little Rock, Arkansas, has an old law banning honking car horns in specific places after 9 p.m.

What is the punishment if you break this Arkansas driving law?

The punishment for violating this law is a fine. You could be charged up to $1,000 for the first offense. Interestingly, that’s a steep increase from the original penalty when the law was enacted. Travel Awaits says breaking this law is a misdemeanor offense, and violators were fined $2 to $5 back in the day. 

Adjusting for inflation, that’s a fine of less than $100 per offense. So, Little Rock has upped the punishment for this crime in the 100 or so years since the law went in the books. This increase in the punishment also shows the city hasn’t stopped punishing offenders. Although honking your car horn isn’t the most heinous crime, the police in Little Rock apparently still enforce this old driving law.

Why did the state create this rule?


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As with many old American laws, the exact reasons Arkansas enacted this legislation aren’t entirely clear. But there’s a big clue. The law states that honking your horn is illegal only at night in certain places — specifically, establishments that sell sandwiches and cold drinks. Fast-food drive-thrus weren’t around back then, but curbside drive-up restaurants existed. Indeed, they were a fad that quickly grew in popularity.

The concept behind those curbside joints was that drivers pulled up and honked their horns for service. All that noise likely annoyed neighbors, so that’s why the law was created in the 1920s. The original law banned honking a car horn near spots selling sandwiches and cold drinks after 11 p.m., but in 1941, locals updated the law to the earlier 9 p.m. that remains today.

Although the reason for creating the law remains unconfirmed, it makes sense. Nowadays, residents get annoyed by heavy traffic flowing through their neighborhoods, whether for a fast-food joint or other establishment. So, it’s unsurprising that Americans were frustrated for the same reason well over 100 years ago.