Government requires electric motors emit sound to alert pedestrians

Last week, Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Transport, announced that the Government of Canada is amending the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations to mandate minimum levels of noise from hybrid and electric vehicles. The mandate states that quiet motors can sometimes pose a safety risk when it comes to hybrid and electrical vehicles. The new requirement came into effect on December 21, 2022.

“The safety and security of all road users is crucial, said Alghabra. “It is important to set sound emitter requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles as they can prevent collisions and improve safety. Requiring sound emitters for these vehicles has been championed by safety and advocacy groups—especially those who advocate for Canadians with disabilities. Your voices were heard by the Government of Canada, and together we’ve made safety improvements for all Canadians.”

Hybrid and electric vehicles have quiet motors and produce almost no sound at low speeds, which can make their presence on our roads hard to detect. Quiet vehicles pose an increased risk of collision to road users such as cyclists, pedestrians, and Canadians with disabilities.

Under the new requirements, all hybrid and electric vehicles will now be required to have sound emitters that would produce noise at low speeds. Automakers can determine the type of sound the vehicle makes, but the volume and pitch must allow a road user to hear if a vehicle is speeding up or slowing down.

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