Federal government moves to end ‘silent running’ of hybrid and electric vehicles

Research has shown the lack of sound poses an increased risk of collision to cyclists, pedestrians and those with impaired vision

In an effort to protect the visually impaired, cyclists and pedestrians the federal government has proposed 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 roadways hard to detect. Research has shown this lack of sound poses an increased risk of collision to some road users.

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

Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, has proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations to ensure all hybrid and electric vehicles produce noise at low speeds.

While many automakers have already voluntarily added sound emitters to their hybrid and electric vehicles, Transport Canada’s new proposed regulation would make it the law and would outline specific standards. For instance, the volume and pitch from sound emitters would 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.