New UN Regulation harmonizes reverse warning sound of vehicles

A reverse warning sound is widely used to ensure safety of people around medium- and heavy-duty vehicles above 3.5 tonnes. However, until now, there has been no worldwide harmonized regulation for audible reverse warning. To reduce the risk of accidents with reversing vehicles, on the one hand, and complaints about their noisiness, on the other, a regulation for reverse warning sound has become necessary.

This week the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) adopted a new UN Regulation on audible reverse warning. The draft was prepared by a group of experts from Governments and industry, under the leadership of Japan. The new Regulation is expected to enter into force in January 2023.

The new Regulation strikes a balance between ensuring a sufficiently recognizable warning sound and avoiding inappropriate noise nuisances for the environment and people. The Regulation includes provisions for traditional reverse warning devices with a fixed volume as well as for adjustable devices that automatically select an appropriate volume depending on the ambient noise.

In addition, when the same level of safety may be ensured by means of other safety devices (e.g. monitoring systems with reverse cameras are installed on the vehicle and active), the reverse warning sound may temporarily stop, in order to avoid sound disturbances and eventual complaints from citizens.

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