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Transport Canada tackles ‘phantom’ vehicle lighting


OTTAWA, Ont. – Transport Canada will soon require updated lighting packages in new cars, in a bid to address those who travel in the dark without any lights.

As of 2021, manufacturers will have to build vehicles that either have daytime running lights and tail lights that come on when the vehicle instrument panel is illuminated and the car is running; automatically turn on the headlights, tail lights, and side marker lights in low-light conditions; or keep the driver’s instrument panel dark so the driver knows to turn on all the lights. The new lighting standard will also allow for “advanced lighting technologies” that boost visibility without blinding oncoming traffic.

The new standards, to be outlined in Canadian Vehicle Lighting Regulation 108, will align with the U.S. and European Union.

Vehicles that drive in the dark with no lights on – also known as phantom vehicles – pose a safety risk, but drivers sometimes think an illuminated instrument panel means the headlights and tail lights are shining even if they are not, Transport Canada says.

“Phantom vehicles have been a nuisance and a safety risk on Canada’s roads for many years,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau, in a related press release. “The new measures we’re taking will improve nighttime visibility and safety for all Canadian road users. As more new vehicles are built to our lighting safety standard, phantom vehicles will eventually become ghosts of the past.”

The standards will apply to vehicles sold after Sept. 1, 2021.


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8 Comments » for Transport Canada tackles ‘phantom’ vehicle lighting
  1. Ronaldo says:

    Should also include curb height of narrowly focused LED headlights. Some aftermarket 4×4 headlights are murder in the rearview mirrors.

  2. jc says:

    Should allow only necessary lights on vehicles.
    Get rid of light bars, running board light and such.
    They are all distracting to oncoming traffic.

  3. Stoneywalker says:

    The autos are so over regulated by government that car batteries have become inadequate. Driving patterns in cities run down batteries in cold weather where trickle charging is becoming a necessity. Keep this in mind when adding new regulations to the automotive industry!

  4. Keith says:

    Forget daytime running lights, it was a bad decision to start with and they’re the cause of most of the headaches we have now with people driving around with no TAILLIGHTS on… Just make it a requirement for manufacturers to have ALL the lights turned on if the vehicle is running period. Throw away the headlight switch and make them all auto-dimming.

  5. Somebody says:

    Why wait so long? Implement it NOW and make it retroactive for all vehicles made after 2000 by 2021. These are trivial changes to the vehicle.

  6. Barb says:

    Well it’s about time – not sure why they are giving manufacturers that long to comply. I see no less than 30 vehicles on my way home at nite with no lights and the same amount roughly in the morning (in winter) when going to work – no wonder people get rear ended – it’s even worse in rain, fog or snow – they have no visibility – ..not sure how anyone can be that blind to not know they have no lights on…

  7. Robert Allard says:

    New drivers and other should have proper training and have on hand ( switch your light on for dummies). Come with the car.

  8. TomN says:

    Somebody should take the manual and hit these idiots over the head with it. Most of these phantom cars are being driven by people that have no idea about what they’re driving. They’ve never opened their owners manual. Every sale should require a instruction session at the dealer before you get the keys. We don’t need more legislation. Besides, the technology is already out there. Every car gets fully automatic lights. All lights all the time.

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