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Woman Fights for Right to Honk Horn

October 10, 1997

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) _ Honk if you favor free speech.

That could be a bumper sticker for Rosemarie Gardner, whose lawyers contend the Bill of Rights guarantees her right to blow her horn.

She’s one of 14 motorists cited by police for honking to protest some new speed bumps.

Her lawyers said the police department was not enforcing the no-honk ordinance at weddings and demonstrations, and the unequal enforcement violates the First Amendment’s protection of free speech.

Gardner decided to fight her $75 ticket.

``If you go by the code violation book, you can’t use your car horn for anything,″ Gardner said Thursday. ``I’m almost afraid to use my horn when I see someone I know on the street and honk to say, `Hi.‴

Peoria police spokesman Jay Sauer says the law is enforced on a complaint basis.

Motorists began honking their horns at the bumps after a local radio personality and a letter to the local paper encouraged their protest. Police began issuing citations last month after residents near the speed bumps complained about the noise.

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