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8-1738. Horns and warning devices. (a) Every motor vehicle when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet, but no horn or other warning device shall emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or whistle. The driver of a motor vehicle when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation shall give audible warning with his horn but shall not otherwise use such horn when upon a highway.

(b) No vehicle shall be equipped with nor shall any person use upon a vehicle any siren, whistle or bell, except as otherwise permitted in this section.

(c) Any vehicle may be equipped with a theft alarm signal device which is so arranged that it cannot be used by the driver as an ordinary warning signal. Such a theft alarm signal device may use a whistle, bell, horn or other audible signal but shall not use a siren.

(d) Every authorized emergency vehicle shall be equipped with a siren, whistle or bell, capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 500 feet and of a type approved by the secretary of transportation, but such siren shall not be used except when such vehicle is operated in response to an emergency call or in the immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law, in which said latter events the driver of such vehicle shall sound said siren when reasonably necessary to warn pedestrians and other drivers of the approach thereof.

(e) Every truck specifically designed and equipped and used exclusively for garbage, refuse or solid waste disposal operations shall be equipped with a whistle, bell or other audible signal. Such whistle, bell or other audible signal shall be used only when the driver of the truck is backing such truck. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a city may adopt an ordinance prohibiting the activation of such whistle, bell or other audible signal during specific periods of time during the day.

History: L. 1974, ch. 33, § 8-1738; L. 1975, ch. 427, § 40; L. 2004, ch. 114, § 2; April 29.

Source or prior law:


Cross References to Related Sections:

Applicability of section to motorcycles and motor-driven cycles, see 8-1810.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

"Comparative Fault and Strict Products Liability in Kansas: Reflections on the Distinction Between Initial Liability and Ultimate Loss Allocation," William Edward Westerbeke and Hal D. Meltzer, 28 K.L.R. 25, 33 (1979).

Attorney General's Opinions:

Use of blue flashing lights on authorized emergency equipment. 83-176.


1. Damage action from collision of motorcycle escort vehicle and automobile; no error in instruction; motorcycle not being operated as emergency vehicle. Littell v. Maloney, 3 Kan. App. 2d 240, 243, 593 P.2d 11.

2. Cited in holding driver operating emergency vehicle in compliance with K.S.A. 8-1506 commits no tort for injury to third parties by fleeing violator. Thornton v. Shore, 233 Kan. 737, 742, 666 P.2d 655 (1983).

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