Light It Up: Canucks to Mandate Taillight Illumination

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
light it up canucks to mandate taillight illumination

It’s a problem — one I’m sure you’ve witnessed. A hapless driver, plodding along a darkened highway with no taillights illuminated, mistakenly thinking their lights are on thanks to a bright dashboard and flaccid daytime running lights.

High on poutine and maple syrup, Transport Canada is having no more of it, announcing a new mandate requiring all new cars sold in the Great White North to have extra illumination starting in 2021.

The initiative also proves that someone within the Canadian government has a sense of humour, as Transport Canada says they’re going “ghostbusting to target phantom vehicles.” Break out the ECTO-1!

Transport Canada minister Marc Garneau, who has logged 677 hours as a spacefaring astronaut, described vehicles which drive in the dark with no lights on as “phantom vehicles,” a phrase keeping in line with the ghostbusting theme. Posing a safety risk, they are difficult to see in low-light conditions. Given that most of Canada is plunged into wintery darkness for what seems like eleven months of the year, this is not a wholly bad observation.

The safety standard requires all new cars sold in Canada as of 2021 to be more visible in low-light conditions, and will require manufacturers to build vehicles that do one of the following:

  • Have daytime running lights and tail lights come on when the vehicle instrument panel is illuminated and the vehicle is in operation;
  • 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.

Some idiots drivers believe an illuminated instrument panel means the headlights and tail lights are already on, which may not be the case. Vehicles imbued with snazzy TFT screens ahead of the driver are often brighter than the sun, leading more than a few bewildered pilots to blithely claw their way along the freeway without giving any thought whatsoever to the status of their outward illumination or their fellow drivers.

“Phantom vehicles have been a nuisance and a safety risk on Canada’s roads for many years and I’m proud our Government is doing something about it. The new measures we’re taking will improve nighttime visibility and safety,” said Mr. Garneau, who is not currently wearing a space suit.

Some may grumble about Daddy Government legislating more equipment installed on our cars but, in this case, I’m okay with it. We’re never going to train all drivers to be as alert as we are. Not everyone is a gearhead (yes, I know that’s hard to believe) and, in fact, I remain convinced that a great cadre of people see the car as nothing more than an appliance to be tolerated. Look at the crowd who want us all in hypoallergenic autonomous pods, fer chrissakes.

Chime in below if you’ve ever encountered one of these mooks who drive without turning on their lights. The best story will be awarded $100 in valuable TTAC Bonus Bucks, which are completely fictional and not valuable at all. Points are doubled if the story includes a reference to ghostbusting.

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2 of 99 comments
  • Tele Vision Tele Vision on Mar 24, 2018

    My 2007 CTS-V had to have the DRLs activated upon import to Canada. Just the turn signal lights are on during the day, so I won't burn a headlight out from daily use. Pretty SMRT.

  • Delta88 Delta88 on Mar 26, 2018

    VW and Audi figured this out a decade ago. Light sensor in the gauge cluster. When it’s dark and the headlights aren’t on the instrument cluster goes black. I almost always keep mine in the Auto position but a few times I had it in the Off position when pulling into the parking garage at work. Works like a charm, gauges go black so I flip the switch to Auto. I think I see at least one Toyota or Honda running in ghost mode every time I drive at night.

  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.