Why Don’t Electric Cars Make Standardized Sounds in Canada?

June 16, 2022, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer




A new proposal would greatly protect blind and low-vision pedestrians by requiring hybrid and electric cars to emit sound at low speed. The idea a good one but the implementation may be short-sighted. 

Some blind advocacy groups say the sound requirement is a good idea but the sound needs to be standardized. The current proposal does not require a standardized sound. 


Canada is currently behind other countries like the U.S.A. and the EU in that we do not require the EBs to generate a sound when moving slowly. This poses an enormous danger to pedestrians who rely on sound to make decisions around their safety. 

Most blind people navigate street crossings by listening to traffic patterns and stepping off the curb when they deem It is safe. Silent cars may become silent killers for those who cannot see.


The new regulations come into effect in April of 2023 but leave the choice of sound up to individual car makers.

CBC News reports that 

Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) regulatory affairs manager Lui Greco said blind and partially sighted people depend on the distinct sounds of vehicles to safely navigate. 


With combustion engines "you can hear the car go; whether it's stopped moving, slowly accelerating," said Greco.


Without those recognizable cues, he said many blind or partially sighted people will be afraid to go out. The pedestrian warning sounds required for EVs need to be standardized, he said. 


"City streets are busy, noisy, hectic environments … so it's essential that whatever sound an electric vehicle makes as it's slowing down or speeding up is identifiable." 

Greco said these regulations could also benefit cyclists and people who may be distracted while walking


The CNIB says that safety measures and how they are implemented should not be optional. They should be standardized so that the blind and other vulnerable road users stay safe.


If you or a loved one are seriously injured in an accident involving an electric vehicle contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers today. 


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