Minister of Transport proposes noise requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles to protect vulnerable road users

From: Transport Canada

Protecting vulnerable road users is a priority for the Government of Canada, and silence can sometimes pose a safety risk when it comes to hybrid and electrical vehicles. That is why we are taking steps to increase the safety of all road users.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced that the Government of Canada will propose amendments to the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations that all hybrid and electric vehicles produce a minimum level of noise.

Hybrid and electric vehicles have quiet engines and produce virtually no sound at low speeds, which can make their presence on our roads hard to detect. Research shows this lack of sound poses an increased risk of collision to road users such as visually impaired Canadians, cyclists, and pedestrians.

While many automakers have already voluntarily added sound emitters to hybrid and electric vehicles, Transport Canada’s new proposed regulation would make it the law and would outline specific standards. Under the proposed regulations, all hybrid and electric vehicles would be equipped with an Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (sound emitters) which produce noise at low speeds. The volume and pitch from these sound emitters will vary depending on vehicle speed to allow road users to hear if a vehicle is speeding up or slowing down.

These regulations would make sure all hybrid and electric vehicles sold in Canada will be equipped with sound emitters by 2023.

Quotes

“Our government is committed to protecting vulnerable road users, and by adding more sound to hybrid and electric vehicles, we can reduce collisions. I wish to acknowledge and thank the many safety and advocacy groups – especially those who advocate for visually impaired Canadians – for their tireless efforts to raise awareness and champion this issue.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra

Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • The department held consultations and numerous submissions were received and considered when drafting these proposed regulations.

  • All hybrid and electric passenger cars, multi-purpose passenger cars, trucks, buses, and low-speed vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 kg or less would be required to comply with the proposed minimum noise regulations.

  • Transport Canada’s proposed noise requirements align with United States and international standards to offer flexibility to vehicle manufacturers, while also maximizing safety for Canadians.

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