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 Commentary: A Tint Law Defence to Remember

TINT-CHEK PRO Window Tint Meter

Commentary: A Tint Law Defence to Remember

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By Neela Ramsundar

WHILE our society continues its epic battle for greater protection of women lives, vehicle owners are being bombarded with notices, advertisements and reminders of a looming deadline for implementation of the new motor vehicle tint regulations. The law will be enforced from March 7, 2021.

Based on my research, you can receive no demerit points, but the fines for violation of these new laws are astronomical. The lowest fine of $1,000 amounts to over 57 hours or seven days of work (at eight hours a day) at minimum wage ($17.50/hr). The highest fine of $5,000 amounts to over 285 hours, or 35 days of work (at eight hours a day) at minimum wage.

I’ve covered this in previous articles, but for convenience, I’ll summarise the main violations below (read the legislation for exact wording, if necessary):

Description of offence Penalty Relevant regulation under the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Windscreen and Window Tint) Regulations, 2020:
Failure to have a front windscreen with a minimum of 70% visible light transmittance (“VLT”)

 

(*Note – The lower the VLT percentage, the darker the tint, e.g. 70% VLT blocks 30% of the light; and 30% VLT blocks 70% of the light)

 

$5,000.00 fine Regulation 3(1)(a) &

Regulation 3(4)

Failure to have front windows with a minimum of 35% VLT $5,000.00 fine Regulation 3(1)(b) &

Regulation 3(4)

Failure to have rear windows and rear windscreens with a minimum of 20% VLT $5,000.00 fine Regulation 3(1)(c) &

Regulation 3(4)

Having a band of tint at the top of the front windscreen over 6 inches wide or failure to have the said band with a minimum of 35% VLT No penalty Regulation 3(3)
Windscreen or windows which appear to have a metallic, reflective, or mirrored effect sufficient to dazzle motorists $1,000.00 fine Regulation 4(1)
Windscreen or windows with scratches or other defects which unreasonably impair driver’s vision or compromises strength or safety of the windscreen or window $1,000.00 fine Regulation 4(2)(a)
Windscreen or window with laminated glazing or glass that shows signs of discolouration that unreasonably impair the driver’s vision $1,000.00 fine Regulation 4(2)(b)
Window or windscreen with any bubbling or other defects that unreasonably impair a driver’s vision $1,000.00 fine Regulation 4(2)(c)

 

There’s a lot of confusion right now about the tint meters being used to measure for compliance. But the Ministry of Works and Transport is advertising the TINT-CHEK PRO Window Tint Meter 2-piece Model #TC3800 on its Facebook pages. I would assume this is the authorised model that law enforcement would be using to check for violations.

Not all tint shops have this model, based on feedback I’m receiving. It’s important to ask your preferred tint shop if they are using the authorised model. If not, I recommend you find another shop that does. Reason being that different tint meters are producing discrepancies in the readouts, so it’s best to stick to the one officials are using. And don’t forget to get a written report after they test for compliance! This report would show that they tested your tint with the authorised meter, the percentage VLT, and whether the window/windscreen passes or fails. Keep this safe, should you need to produce it as evidence later.

Very important to remember if law enforcement issues you a ticket for failing the tint darkness criteria: regulation 11(2) allows a margin of error of plus or minus 3% in relation to the measurement of the VLT.

You should not be issued a ticket in the first place if your VLT reading falls within that margin of error. But if you do get a ticket, you have a valid defence. Be safe Trinidad and Tobago.

Copyright © 2021 Neela Ramsundar, LL.B (HONS), L.E.C is a  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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