New Canadian regulations to prevent motorists night-driving without headlights

what driving without a headlight looks like

Transport Canada safety standards force automakers to equip cars with auto-on headlights or to keep dashboards dark until lights are on


Author of the article:

Nicholas Maronese

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New Canadian regulations to prevent motorists night-driving without headlights
A car without headlights is driven along 109 Street in a snowstorm in Edmonton, Alberta on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.

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A set of forthcoming government safety standards aim to cut down on the number of cars driven on Canadian roads at night without their headlights on.

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“Phantom vehicles” – cars driving without their lights on in the dark – will slowly be eradicated beginning in September 2021, according to a March 21 press release from Transport Canada.

The new regulations will force all automakers to equip their Canadian-market vehicles either with headlights, taillights and side marker lights that come on automatically in low-light conditions; with daytime running lights (DRLs) and taillights that come on automatically when the vehicle’s dashboard is illuminated; or with dashboards that stay dark until the driver turns the lights on.

“‘Phantom vehicles’ have been a nuisance and a safety risk on Canada’s roads for many years,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau in a press release. “As more new vehicles are built to our lighting safety standard, phantom vehicles will eventually become ghosts of the past.”   

While several automakers already equip their vehicles with features that meet the regulations, others will illuminate their instrument panels independent of the exterior lighting’s being on or off. These can lead to many drivers thinking their headlights and taillights are on when they’re not.

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During the three-year gap before the regulations take effect, Transport Canada will partner with the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) to renew that organization’s “See and be seen” campaign that reminds motorists how to properly use their lights.

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