7/22/2014Bermuda To Seize Cars Over Window Tint
Cars that smell bad or have dark window tint are subject to being impounded in Bermuda.
Police in Bermuda have wide discretion to impound automobiles when a driver is believed to have a suspended driver's license or lacks insurance. The parliament this month broadened seizure powers to allow officers to take any automobile driven by anyone suspected of drunk driving. He may also seize a car that smells bad or has dark window tinting.
"A police officer may seize a motor vehicle and drive it to or have it towed to, and impounded at, a pound in circumstances where the motor vehicle is being driven in such a condition that it is likely... to cause unnecessary noise, vibration, smoke or smell, contrary to section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1947," the Motor Car Amendment Act of 2014 states.
Under existing law, front passenger and driver's side windows must allow at least 35 percent of light to pass through. Rear windows must transmit at least 30 percent of light. Aside from a narrow strip at the top, the front windshield must remain untinted. This is roughly equivalent to limits in most US states, with about fifteen states permitting vehicles to have darker tint.
Bermuda's crackdown comes despite the government's earlier moves to ease the tinting rules. Between 2004 and 2008, the government provided an exemption for the importation of the Toyota Alphard minivan, which comes from the factory with a 24 percent rear window tinting -- darker than legally allowed. These models now account for one-fifth of the island nation's taxi fleet.
"The tinted windows give owners of the Alphard vehicles an advantage when servicing certain passengers," Transport Minister Shawn G. Crockwell said in March. "They are called upon when there are celebrities on island as well as business sector visitors who are seeking privacy. This puts the other taxi owners at a disadvantage."
Only 104 of the Alphards were allowed into the country. Cabbies who did not buy one when available installed darker window tinting on their own vehicles to compete, only to find themselves pulled over and fined for having the same tint level as the Alphard owners. On April 1, the government adopted a new policy allowing all taxis and limousines to use 24 percent tint.
"There are several known advantages of tinted vehicle windows, especially in warmer climates with greater sun exposure," Crockwell said at the time. "The tinted rear and back windows reduce the ultraviolet light as well as heat and glare from the sun which lends to a more comfortable environment for drivers, who are traversing the roads several hours a day, and their passengers. Owners of Alphards claim that besides protection against heat intrusion, the air conditioning system does not have to work as hard and the vehicle also cools off more quickly, reducing fuel consumption levels during the summer months."
Drivers of non-commercial vehicles who attempt to reduce heat and glare or improve their fuel economy in the summer with 24 percent rear window tint will have their cars confiscated.
A copy of the new law is available in a 260k PDF file at the source link below.