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3.7-17  Failure to Sound Horn

Revised to January 1, 2008

The plaintiff claims that the defendant failed to sound (his/her) horn prior to the collision.  The driver of an automobile has a duty to use reasonable care to avoid injury to other persons using the road.  He has a duty to sound (his/her) horn prior to a collision to give warning of (his/her) approach to other persons if a reasonably prudent person in the same circumstances would do so.


General Statutes 14-80 (e) requires motor vehicles to be equipped with horns in "good working order."  The statute says nothing about when such horns should be sounded.  Several Connecticut cases hint at the necessity of sounding a horn to give warning, but do not specify the circumstances in which such a warning should be given.  See Alderman v. Kelly, 130 Conn. 98, 100 (1943); Rosenberg v. Matulis, 116 Conn. 675, 678 (1933); Travis v. Balfour, 115 Conn. 711, 712 (1932).  The reasonably prudent person standard, however, is clear from the case law.  See McHaffie v. Bunch, 891 S.W.2d 822, 828 (Mo. 1995), appeal dismissed after remand, 951 S.W. 2d. 340 (Mo. Ct. App. 1997); Lowe v. Futrell, 157 S.E.2d 92, 95 (N.C. 1967).


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