Monday 26 April 2010

The great tinted window farce

There’s no reason why anybody should be allowed to have tinted windows in their motor vehicle. There’s something very creepy about cars with tinted windows. And in sun-soaked Abu Dhabi a three-year traffic safety study revealed that over-tinted windows were the fourth-largest cause of accidents.

In British Columbia they are used to evade detection for driving while using a mobile phone:

White Rock RCMP Const. Janelle Shoihet said Friday that police have noticed an increase in tinted front side vehicle windows, which are illegal, since the cell phone driving ban was announced last year. Changes to the Motor Vehicle Act, introduced by government last fall, took effect Jan. 1, allowing drivers to only use hands-free cell phones and devices that require one touch to activate.

Starting Feb. 1, a driver caught talking on a hand-held phone or electronic device will be subject to a fine of $167. Drivers caught texting or emailing, while the car is moving, also will be subject to three penalty points. Shoihet said that police now are noticing more drivers have their front windows tinted, which can result in a $109 fine.

Successive British governments have had a sycophantic relationship with the car lobby, so naturally tinted windows aren’t banned. Instead tinting is supposed to be limited to allow 70-75 per cent of light through, though in practice few police officers carry the specialist equipment required to check this limitation. On the very rare occasions that police bother to check, they soon catch offenders:

Five Manchester City stars have been fined by police who spotted their vehicles' tinted windows were too dark as they arrived at training. Shay Given, Kolo Toure, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Patrick Vieira and Stephen Ireland were all given £30 fixed penalty notices on Wednesday.

[A £30 fine to a Manchester City player is, of course, equivalent to a fine of a fraction of one penny to the likes of thee and me.]

An officer from GMP's Road Policing Unit, working with representatives from VOSA, stopped a number of cars on Carrington Lane, Trafford," a spokesman said. "The cars were stopped and found to have illegally tinted windows.

"The drivers were issued with fixed penalty notices and prohibition notices."

A variety of companies can tint windows of vehicles to add privacy for the owner.
Front driver and passenger windows must allow 70% of light through and the windscreen 75%.