Q&A - Backup Light Confusion

Q&A ImageQ: How is it that car manufacturers are allowed to use reverse lights for functions other than reversing?

I find it very confusing in a parking lot when I am slowing down for a vehicle that has reverse lights on, only to find people walking towards it or away from it and the vehicle is simply using the reverse lights as a "parking light" or some such thing.

A: Vehicle equipment standards are set by the federal government, often in lock step with the United States.

It's up to the provinces to create laws to enforce compliance with the federal standards.

Technical Standard 108 of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations outlines the standards behind lights and reflectors.

Our Motor Vehicle Act Regulations require that:

4.18 (1) A vehicle may be equipped with not more than 2 backup lamps, mounted on the rear of the vehicle, that are capable of displaying only white light to the rear of the vehicle.

(2) A backup lamp must illuminate only when the vehicle is in reverse gear.

So, technically, if you throw it into park, lock the doors and walk away, the backup lights must not be on.

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Which has to make you wonder ...

... how it is that these vehicles are being imported into this country? They wouldn't pass a BC Government Inspection, would they?

Built in This Country

Chances are that could be North American built too. Our MVA and MVAR are often behind the times....


Second that

My 2015 GM vehicle was built in Ontario and it does turn on (and keeps on) the reverse lights and brake lights whenever I unlock it with a remote. The reverse lights turn off as soon as the key is turned to ON position.

I mitigate this unfortunate mishap by backing into stalls whenever possible.

I would put the blame on the

I would put the blame on the designers not knowing the regulations and then Transport Canada for not ordering a recall.

Another item which I don't like is vehicles that now turn off the headlight on the side that you have activated the turn signal on. On a dark street you are now turning into an area that is poorly illuminated.


This should only happen in the "DRL" mode. It should not be happening when its dark - the "Headlight" mode (when two green lights are illuminated on the dashboard) isn't supposed to turn off the respective headlight when the turn signal is used. You may need to turn your lights to Auto or manually turn them on when its dark.

The turning off the headlight in DRL mode is supposed to make the turn signal more pronounced for the on-coming traffic in daylight conditions only.

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