Is your tinted window / solar film too dark?
More drivers in trouble over dark tints
By Teh Joo Lin
Published: December 31 2008,
The Straits Times
MORE motorists are getting pulled over for tinting their vehicle windows a shade too dark.
In all, 1,356 motorists were fined last year. The figure was more than three times the 382 caught in 2006, and the 2006 figure was three times that of the preceding year.
Another 662 motorists were caught in the first 10 months of this year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) told The Straits Times. These drivers flouted the window tinting rules, which mandate that rear windows allow at least 25 per cent of light to pass through. For the windscreen and front windows, the requirement is at least 70 per cent.
The LTA has said in the past that tinted windows improve the vehicle's air-conditioning efficiency and provide a better shield against ultraviolet rays.
At the same time, the tinting standards - devised in line with international practices - ensure that the tints are not so dark that they compromise visibility for the driver and people looking into the vehicle from outside. The ability to see inside the vehicle is important, for example, during security checks.
Motorists said they breach the guidelines for reasons that include seeking extra privacy, keeping valuables out of view and adding some mystique to their cars.
A 35-year-old motorist, who did not wish to be named, said he used film to tint the windows illegally on his previous car, a black Honda Jazz, because darkened glass 'looked nicer on the car'.
'It blends with the body of the car. If you can see through the car, it looks ugly. It also helps with the reduction of heat and glare,' he said.
While the motorist said the illegal tints were 'not really dangerous', he conceded that he took some time to get used to driving at night after the film was installed.
'The first few days I drove at night... it was quite dangerous. I couldn't really see,' he said.
Motorcyclist Eric Kwah, 66, claimed he was nearly knocked down by a car recently while the two vehicles were turning at the same time. He blamed the motorist's heavily tinted windows for the near collision, which happened at night in the Ubi area. He said that when he confronted the driver, the man admitted he could not see properly because his car windows were too dark.
It is easy for motorists here to get their windows darkened to illegal shades at car accessory shops. These shops stock such shades mainly for use on the sun-roof panels of cars. But if customers ask for their car windows to be tinted with them, the shops generally do not turn them away.
At a shop in Sin Ming, a sales representative readily said he carried 'unapproved' tinting even as he gave a warning about the LTA's requirements.
The shop stocked rolls of film, including one which let through only 5 per cent of light.
'We do both approved and unapproved (film)...Actually we do more unapproved types here. But if you get caught, it's nothing to do with us,' he said.
The cost of installing the film ranges from $100 to $300. Many of their customers were young adults, he said.
Under the law, those who install and sell illegal tints can be found liable.
A motorist who is caught for having windows tinted too dark has to remove the film and send the vehicle for inspection. In addition, he can be fined up to $1,000 or jailed for up to three months.
Those who re-offend can be fined up to $2,000 or jailed for up to six months.
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Is there NO ONE else? | ko ou tiang! bo lang liao?