May 1, 2014
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: United Parcel Service (UPS), headquartered in Atlanta, has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for encouraging its drivers to honk their horns to announce their arrival. UPS’ policy blatantly disregards local noise ordinances and the right of every American to a peaceful environment.
Alexander Loutsky,a resident of Staten Island, New York, states that he is “amazed that UPS has a nation-wide policy that their drivers are to honk their horns, even if it violates a local noise ordinance. I found this out when I asked the UPS driver who drives down our dead-end street to please not honk his horn every time he comes onto the street. He would blast his horn and herald to everyone in the neighborhood that one of our neighbors was getting a package. What makes this unnecessary noise ridiculous and disturbing is that the driver has to go to the front door of the home anyway. Why not just ring the doorbell? Fed Ex and USPS deliver to our community without the noise.”
Loutsky reports that the UPS driver initially agreed that he would not honk any more. A few days later, the driver “informs me that his supervisor has ordered him to honk his horn on the blocks of his deliveries and that UPS will pay any violations which result from this. I contacted my regional UPS office and was informed that horn honking is a UPS ‘nation-wide’ policy. They said it is done to ‘facilitate deliveries.’ I was told that UPS instructs all their drivers to honk, even if it is against a local noise ordinance. Our local UPS driver said that UPS will ‘eat any tickets.'”
Mr. Loutsky continued his quest to persuade UPS to not disturb his home environment: “I received a call from Latisha, a UPS supervisor from my region, who stated that the UPS driver ‘must blast his horn and alert everyone on the block that a big, brown truck is coming that could potentially kill a child.’ She says that because I live on a dead-end street, it is especially required. When I informed her that we have a local noise ordinance which prohibits horn honking except for imminent danger, Latisha stated that if our block doesn’t have the sign that announces a $250 fine for horn honking, then it doesn’t apply to UPS. Unfortunately, the city removed these signs this past January. However, the city said that the noise ordinance was still in effect.”
Latisha lacked the ability to discuss an issue and speak with the public in a civil manner: “She was adversarial and prosecutorial in her demeanor,” Loutsky remarked. “I had to finally tell her that we needed to end this conversation. I asked for the name of her supervisor. She said that her supervisor ‘would tell you the same thing’ and that ‘the case was closed,’ as far as she was concerned, and ‘the honking isn’t going to stop!’ She said that if I had any problems with the horns, ‘Don’t contact UPS!’ Instead, she said I should call 311 or my elected representatives.”
Loutsky received a response from the UPS corporate office, which stated that ‘UPS does not have a national or regional policy instructing their drivers to honk their horns.” Additionally, Loutsky located an “environmental statement” on the UPS web site, which states that “UPS is dedicated to reducing noise pollution.” However, Loutsky notes that the national UPS office has not directed their office in Staten Island, New York to obey the the local noise ordinance–much less UPS’s own environmental policy statement.
James Kaufmann, another member of Noise Free America, had a similar experience a couple of years ago in Rochester, New York: “I once confronted a UPS driver about constant horn honking. He was completely unsympathetic and rude. He directed me to call the headquarters. He was clearly unconcerned about suffering any consequences for breaking laws against sonic abuse. UPS management places their desire for profits over social decency. There is no need for drivers to announce their presence to the entire neighborhood.”
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, noted that “UPS’ excuses for their noisemaking are outlandish. The fact that there may be children playing in the street is no reason to blast your horn. What if everyone constantly honked their horn? It would be a noise nightmare.”
Rueter also noted that UPS’ honking policy “simply contributes to the cacophony of noise regularly experienced by most American neighborhoods, which are overrun with noise from loud car stereos, lawn mowing, leaf blowing, and illegally modified motorcycles. The Census Bureau reports that noise is Americans’ #1 complaint about their neighborhoods and the #1 reason they wish to move. UPS, by delivering noise to American neighborhoods, is only making this problem even worse.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens’ organization devoted to noise reduction. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the National Football League, Geico Insurance, and the DC Metro.