Concepts, discussion points, and sample text

Online petitions, e-mails, and editable Capwiz forms can be effective, but petition signatures and Capwiz forms don't tell the whole story, and e-mails can get caught in junk or spam folders and may not reach an intended recipient. Writing and mailing a hard-copy letter takes more time and effort, but can have a different impact. Even today,
in the world of e-mail, instant messaging, and social media, businesses and government still use hard-copy letters
to conduct business communication. Letters can be hand written, typed, or created using a word processor or computer. It is recommended that you limit your letter to one or two pages. The sample letter below, which was
sent to Ford Motor Company, fits on one page.

Read more about letter-writing campaigns:

    Please PIPEDOWN Newsletter Number 14 touches on the advantages of letter writing

    Community Tool Box compares impact of letters versus e-mail

Sample Letter

Dear (recipient),

We are writing to request that Ford Motor Company rethink its use of horn honking as audible
confirmation for the security system and other features such as “panic alarm” and “car finder.”

We are fortunate to live in a retirement community where RKE horn honking is now prohibited.
We moved to Florida twenty years ago to retire after many years of living and working full-time
in New York City because among other things, we were seeking peace and quiet. The last thing
anyone wants is to have to hear random horn honks that are completely unnecessary. We drive,
and we would not dream of subjecting our neighbors to that kind of noise. When we first realized
that cars were starting to honk merely to confirm security, we found the idea incomprehensible.

We were extremely lucky in that most of the people in our community felt the same way and
now the feature is prohibited where we live. But we still have to listen to random horn honks
whenever we go out, whether it’s to go shopping, when we travel, or when we visit family and
friends who live in communities where the technology is not prohibited. We cannot understand
how this feature was allowed to be used, when car manufacturers worked so hard and for so long
to build quieter cars.

Ford calls this feature a “horn chirp.” The sound that Ford cars use to confirm lock and security
is not a “chirp.” It is a honk. It does not matter if the honk measures fewer decibels than used
when a driver uses a horn while driving. When you walk through a parking lot you should not
have to be startled at any given moment as an empty car honks, with the car’s owner long gone.
It doesn’t matter if the sound level is 70 decibels or 110 decibels – it startles passersby and this is
not healthy for certain people. The sound confuses passersby and it also confuses nearby drivers,
who perceive it as a warning.

It was a mistake to ever offer this feature to begin with. Ford Motor Company needs to look at
the way this feature affects people, and to take responsibility and do what it takes to replace it
with a quieter feature that does not use the horn. Peace and quiet are a human right, not a luxury.


(Name and address of writer)

Concepts and Suggested Discussion Points

It is not necessary to cover every issue related to remote keyless entry (RKE) horn honking, audible car alarms,
panic alarms, backup beeping, and other audible vehicle alert sounds in detail. A writer can list the basic audible alerts to cover the bases, and then write a paragraph that focuses on one or two of the technologies, and round out the letter with your personal experience. Some common arguments against RKE horn use, audible car alarms, panic alarms, backup beeping, and unnecessary horn use in general include:

   Horn honking interrupts sleep

   Sleep is crucial to endocrine function and overall health

   Horn honking has a negative impact on quality of life

   RKE horn honking brings traffic noise to quiet streets

   RKE horn honking occurs in hospital parking lots and near schools

   RKE horn honking enters private homes

   People who live next to parking lots hear horns honking inside their homes hundreds of times each day

   RKE and panic alarms use a warning device to announce events that are not dangerous
   (owner has locked his car, owner forgot where he parked)

   The startle effect can cause accidents and endanger other drivers

   The startle effect can startle, confuse, and endanger cyclists

   Non-emergency horn use teaches children that a horn is not a warning sound

   Audible lock and security confirmation should be more innovative and take advantage of technologies
   such as phone apps in a way that fosters peace and quiet, not in a way that creates noise

   Technologies such as the BMW app, Cruze app (without honking), and sophisticated OnStar technology
   render panic alarms and "car finder" horn honking redundant and embarrassingly dumbed down

   Children do not respond to backup beeping by moving out of the way (see backup beeping article links on this site)

   At construction sites, backup beeping is "backed up" by a human being who acts as a lookout, so relying
   on backup beeping could give a driver a false sense of security (see backup beeping article links on this site)

   Rear view cameras combined with old-fashioned careful driving render backup beeping redundant

   Engine immobilizers render audible car alarms unnecessary

   GPS tracking systems render audible car alarms unnecessary

   Most car alarm activations are false alarms, and many car alarm activations are caused by a car owner
   forgetting to deactivate security

   Most people use panic alarms to locate their cars

   It is a myth that using RKE honking stops one from locking one's keys in a car

   It is a myth that using RKE honking "warns" prospective car thieves that your car is secure

   Your RKE horn announces to prospective car thieves that you are leaving your car alone

   A prospective car thief can tell if your security system is activated by looking at a blinking light
   on your dashboard

   Sophisticated communications systems like "concierges" and OnStar call centers are safer and smarter
   than using a panic alarm

   Would you want your college-age daughter or elderly parent attempting to thwart a theft-in-progress
   by sounding a panic alarm in a deserted parking lot?

   Most state driving regulations and many local noise ordinances prohibit non-emergency horn use
   or limit horn use to specific situations

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