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 A Closer Look at Tint Restrictions in T&T

A Closer Look at Tint Restrictions in T&T

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By Neela Ramsundar

Happy New Year AZPNews.com readers! It’s my first article for 2021, and many thanks for having me back!

As a legal practitioner, I have a pet peeve for laws that just doesn’t sit right.

With that in mind, I thought I’d have a closer look at the new front windshield tint restrictions. Quickly recapping my last article, I wrote about the new tint laws that are going to be enforced from March 2021. Called the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Windscreen and Window Tint) Regulations, 2020 you can find it online in Legal Notice No. 281 of 2020 published on July 31, 2020. Some of the major changes are:

  1. (See Regulation 11) Constables in uniform can use a tint measurement device approved by the Licensing Authority to measure the degree of tint in a vehicle’s windows and windscreen. In calculating whether there is a breach, a margin of error of + or – 3 % is allowed.
  2. (See Regulation 3) Fines of $5,000 can be issued on any road for failure to:
  • Have a front windscreen with a minimum of 70% visible light transmittance (“VLT’) (a lower VLT percentage means a darker tint, e.g. 30% VLT blocks 70% of the light);
  • Have the front windows with a minimum of 35% visible light transmittance; and
  • Have the rear windows and rear windscreens with a minimum of 20% visible light transmittance.
Photo taken from the Facebook page of the Ministry of Works and Transport

If you look at the message (just under the blue cars in the above diagram), MOWT indicates that a person who breaches the new tint limits commits a traffic violation and is liable to a fine of $5,000 before a court.

Interestingly, the diagram gives the impression that you can get a $5,000 fine for having an anti-glare band at the top of your front windshield greater than six inches (15 cm) from the top or darker than 35% VLT. Unless the Legal Notice is to be amended, as it stands right now, I saw no penalty and certainly no $5,000 ticket for such a breach.

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Perhaps another error MOWT made when designing the diagram? (I can’t help but think the police will make you peel off the offending band if you are in breach though, before they let you go.) Time will tell.

After mentioning the $5,000 fine in the diagram above, MOWT goes on to say that “This will be a Fixed Ticketable Violation with Demerit Points.”

So, another interesting point I thought I’d mention is that the Legal Notice (above) is silent about breaches attracting demerit points. I have not been able to find any information on how many demerits points a person will accumulate for breaching the new tint laws. Did MOWT make an error when they designed the above diagram, or is it that we can expect further tint laws to come in the near future?

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In this country, we are faced with punishing sunlight and heat. Driving on mornings or evenings when the rays are glaring directly in your line of sight, even with sunglasses, is a special kind of hell. I can’t help but agree with a growing number of persons that the restrictions concerning the band at the top of the front windshield (both the width and the allowable darkness) are unreasonable and will cause needless stress. Apart from the intense rays of sun and heat, many of us are not exactly what you would call “tall people”. (Including me!) We really do appreciate having that band at the top of the front windshield to block some of the heat and light coming in the vehicle. Six inches wide and 35% VLT doesn’t seem to cut it.

I don’t see the harm allowing a wider band, perhaps up to 9 – 10 inches. If the rear windshield tint can go up to 20% VLT, I also don’t see the harm allowing the same for the front windshield band. Agree or no? Be safe Trinidad and Tobago!

Copyright © 2021 Neela Ramsundar, LL.B (HONS), L.E.C Civil Litigation Attorney at Law & Certified Mediator.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for general informative purposes only. It does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. For legal advice on your specific situation, please contact an Attorney-at-Law of your choosing directly. Liability for any loss or damage of any kind whatsoever allegedly incurred a consequence of using content in this article is thus hereby excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.

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