LIGHTLY TINTING THE windows of your car is not a problem but if the tint is dark as 'midnight' that could spell trouble with the law.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Wayne Cameron of the Island Traffic Division said that despite the Road Traffic Act not making any mention to the degree of tinting of car windows, it mentions that 'anything' that might impede the driver's vision while he is looking out through any of the windows or windscreen is in breach of that act.
"Once it impedes the vision of the driver it is construed to be an obstruction to the driver and is, therefore, a breach to the Road Traffic Act," DSP Cameron said.
Apart from the matter of impeding vision, DSP Cameron said it was his experience that vehicles with very dark tints were primarily those which transported people who were engaged in unlawful matters.
"Persons that engage in kidnapping and robberies - among other criminal activities - tend to travel in tinted vehicles," he said. "So if the vehicles are tinted, they will draw the attention of the police."
Therefore, he said, when windows are wound up, the driver must be able to see clearly outwards while the police should see the driver from the outside.
"I would advise that if your vehicle comes with factory tint, you use that," he said. However, DSP Cameron said that if the cars are without tinted windows, then the car owners must ensure that the tint added does not affect vision from inside and outside the vehicle.
He said drivers also needed to be aware of the fact that if they are stopped on the road by a police officer who is in the presence of a traffic examiner and the windows are heavily tinted, the examiner is obliged to test the vehicle for visibility. However, if there is no examiner on location, the law enforcer could instruct the driver to go directly to the nearest examination depot where the vehicle will be examined.
"At that point the examiner will sit in the vehicle and wind up the windows to check to see if the vision from inside is clear. And if there is any obstruction, he has the authority to remove it and even prosecute," DSP Cameron explained.
"Persons don't need to use dark tints as an excuse for protection from the sun, because light tints block the rays just as well."
He also warned operators of public passenger vehicles that it is illegal, under the Public Transport Authority Act, to have tinted windows on those vehicles, outside of the tinting which is done at the factory level.
"No PPV vehicle is to be tinted so heavily that the police cannot see what is going on inside, especially the school buses where there is a culture of unbecoming acts," DSP Cameron concluded.
- Laranzo Dacres