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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Citizens in dark about tinted glass rule

The traffic police's zealous crackdown on dark films on car windows has taken Mumbaikars by utter surprise, with many of them arguing that the authorities should have spread awareness before conducting the uncompromising drive. 
    Nearly 5,000 drivers have been booked and Rs 5 lakh collected in fines since the campaign against sun-protection films was launched on October 11. The drive was launched following a Supreme Court order that was implemented across the country on May 4, prohibiting the pasting of dark films on vehicles' windscreens and windowpanes, a common practice followed by 

motorists often to shield against the sun. The order was issued in a bid to check the rising incidents of crimes committed inside vehicles, with culprits taking advantage of the films blocking the view into cars. 
    The SC order says car manufacturers may produce vehicles with tinted glasses where visual light transmission is 70% for windscreens and 40% for side glasses (windowpane). "But the tinted glasses provided by car manufacturers usually allow visual light transmission of a mere 20%, making it difficult for the AC 
to work efficiently, given Indian weather," said an aggrieved motorist. 
    Anil Joseph, who was stopped by the police at Bandra-Worli Sea Link, was told that he would have to peel off the films from the side glasses. "But the regional transport office allowed films on glasses. You could get a certificate saying the films were authorized by it," he said. "If there is a change in guidelines, shouldn't the authorities inform us in advance and mention the date of implementation?" When Joseph argued with the police that the film on the windowpane was transparent enough for anyone to see inside his car, he was fined. When he refused to pay, he was issued a challan and asked to appear before Bandra court on October 29. 
    Activist Rishi Agarwal also feels the RTO should have conducted an awareness drive and given motorists time to remove the films. "There are no hoardings or advertisements informing the public about the change in rules or how to go about it," Agarwal said. 
    RTO officials also admitted that the department did not inform people of the guidelines. "The traffic police issued circulars and we presumed that people were aware of the change," said an official. Though another official passed the buck to the traffic cops, it is actually a joint campaign of both. "We have issued directives to all car manufacturers and dealers about the dark films and tinted glasses. We are also not passing any car during registration, if there are dark films on windows," said an RTO official. Senior traffic police officials said they were strictly following the SC order, which stated that the police should not only book offenders but also ensure that films pasted on safety glasses be removed. 
    (With inputs by Somit Sen & Nitasha Natu) 

5K booked, 5L fine collected since Thursday 
The traffic police department booked more than 5,000 motorists and collected a fine of Rs 5 lakh till Saturday, three days after it launched a campaign against dark films pasted on car windowpanes and windshields. 
    The police plan to make this drive permanent, just like their anti-drunk driving crusade. 
    The campaign was started following a Supreme Court order prohibiting the pasting of tinted films, of any visual light transmission (VLT) percentage or any other material, on safety glasses, windscreens (front and rear) and windowpanes of all vehicles. "Our personnel have been impounding the licences of offenders and issuing them challans. The licences are returned only when the film is removed," a traffic official said. The penalty is Rs 100 and the offender is booked under section 100 (2) of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. 
    It was on May 4 that the apex court's order against the misuse of dark films on four-wheelers' glasses came into force. Again on August 3, the SC warned of contempt action against state police chiefs if the order was not taken seriously. "We are requesting voluntary compliance from people," said additional commissioner (traffic) Brijesh Singh. TNN 
SC order prohibiting the use of 
dark films on car windowpanes and windscreens was implemented 

    The Order by Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justice A K Patnaik: We prohibit the use of black films of any VLT (visual light transmission) percentage or any other material upon the safety glasses, windscreens (front and rear) and side 
glasses of all vehicles throughout the country. The home secretary, directorgeneral/commissioner of police of the respective states/Centre shall ensure compliance with this direction. The directions contained in this judgment shall become operative and enforceable with effect from 4 May, 2012 
    Going by the order, car manufacturers can produce vehicles with tinted glasses that have "visual light transmission of 
windscreen (front and rear) as 70%. and side glasses 40%". But no films can be pasted on the glasses later, a common practice to block out the sun 
    The SC clarified that the law did not allow even VIPs to use such films. But while it made an exception for people with security risk, it clarified that the exemption should be granted to only official vehicles of people with threat perception

TRANSPARENT MOVE: The traffic police have been peeling off dark films often pasted on car windowpanes to block out the sun


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