Canada Announces Mandate On EV and Hybrid Noisemakers
by Tejaswini Parker
The Canadian government establishes rules and security protocols that improve people’s safety on roads, at home, and everywhere. The transport department of Canada has recently announced a new road-safety protocol, which requires hybrid and electric vehicle owners to equip their vehicles with a noise system.
Since these vehicles have motors that operate quietly, especially when you are driving at low speeds, this presents security risks for pedestrians. People with vision impairments or cyclists are at an increased risk of collision with these vehicles. Unlike gasoline vehicles, these vehicles don’t make much noise on the road. While that reduces noise pollution, it also increases safety risks for pedestrians.
Now, every hybrid or electric vehicle owner has to install some kind of noise-making device on the vehicle that is triggered when the driving speed is below a certain threshold. This isn’t just for hybrid and electric cars, but all cars—from SUVs to trucks—need a noise tool. Due to the growing number of accidents on the road, the government had to take action to make the roads safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and those with physical impairments.
Equipping Vehicles with Sound Emitters
A majority of cars (except hybrid and electric vehicles) emit a normal, consistent sound when the vehicle is slowing down or taking a turn. The sound doesn’t fade when the speed goes down. However, electric and hybrid vehicles are not equipped with built-in sound emitters that can produce a continuous sound when the vehicle takes a break or slows down.
There’s no regulation regarding the type of tune used in the vehicle, but the government has set standards for the volume and the pitch. The sound must be loud enough to alert the pedestrians of the vehicle behind or ahead of them. It should be clear enough for people to guess the car’s speed just by hearing the sound. Although some hybrid car owners have already installed sound emitters, the government has made it mandatory for all vehicles, including new cars, to have a sound emitter. The new rule came into effect on December 21, 2022, and applies to all vehicles weighing 4.536 kgs and below. These artificial noise emitters must produce the same pitch and volume of sound as the natural sound system in gas-powered cars.
The measure was taken after evaluating the increasing death rates in traffic. Blind people or those who rely on the car’s sound for navigating traffic often face difficulty assessing hybrid and electric vehicles. The Canadian government has followed the safety standards, which are already in effect in the US and most parts of the world.
EVs make the same noise as gas vehicles when they are driven at high speeds. We are talking about the tire noise. The problem occurs when you drive them at low speeds, and it’s difficult for pedestrians to identify a vehicle without sound, especially at night, in dim light, or in poor weather. This safety measure is for people with disability and vision problems. But it will benefit every pedestrian and cyclist.