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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cops back to tearing sun film - ban on tinted glasses being implemented in Chennai

Last May 2012 I had posted on this ~ Chennai implementing Apex Court orders on tinted glass…… Chennai city  was abuzz with activity – vehicles were stopped; owners made to pay spot fines….. with warning that on subsequent times, the fines would be higher.

Loosely referred as ‘sun film vehicles’ it is  vehicles with Tinted glass – a reference to any glass that has been treated with a material such as a film or coating, which reduces the transmission of light through it. Glass can be tinted with various types of coating, which block and/or reflect different amounts and types of light, according to the needs and preferences of the consumer.  There are many types of window tint available in the market for a wide variety of uses from solar heat reduction to UV protection, privacy to safety and security, decorative applications to heat retention.   Heat rejection films are normally applied to the interior of flat glass windows to reduce the amount of infrared, visible light, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation entering windows.

The coloured or tinted glasses that have a film affixed on the door glasses on side and at the back reduces the visible light transmission through the car windows and would protect those inside from the hot sun, would also enhance the efficiency of air-conditioners – it can pose trouble to the driver as the vision of things outside gets restricted, especially during night times.  As a natural corollary, those inside are not seen from outside and this sometimes helps anti-social elements.  Law Enforcing Agencies are concerned that they would not be able to see and identify those inside the vehicle with tinted glasses.  In many jurisdictions, there are laws to ensure darkness of films do not present a danger to motorists and also ensure proper identification by Police.

Understand that the laws of every state in the U.S. regulate the degree to which car windows can be tinted, especially the front windows.   In India, things change  when there is rule and only when it is strongly implemented. The Supreme Court  last year  banned the use of tinted glass, restricting visions beyond permissible limit as fixed under the Motor Vehicles Act, in vehicles.  A bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia, however, made it clear that tinted glass can be used in vehicles of government officials for security purposes and asked the state governments to frame guidelines regarding this.  The Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, says that the glasses of windscreen and rear windows of vehicles should have a visual light transmission of 70 per cent and for side windows it should be at least 50 per cent. 

The court passed the order on a plea by Mr Avishek Goenka  seeking complete ban on use of dark films on car windows, including the vehicles used by VVIPs, alleging that many crimes in cities were committed by people using such cars with tinted windows. That made May 2012 different for motorists as Traffic Police in most States got active penalizing those vehicles with black tint.  At Chennai apart from stopping and fining, Police had roped in people who would tear the sun films as well.  The standard reaction of vehicle owners was that ‘they were not aware of the rules’….. many follow rules when there is a Police cop around ~ though a good full year has fleeted past, one could still see many vehicles with dark glasses with zero visibility………

Now the Cops are back at it again – TOI reports that the drive has resumed ahead of visits of high-profile leaders and they are not sparing buses either.   Here is some extract of TOI report of date :  Ahead of the visits of three high-profile leaders next week – BJP leader L K Advani on August 1, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on August 2, and President Pranab Mukherjee on August 7 – the city traffic police on Tuesday resumed their crackdown on vehicles with sun control films. A few days after the Supreme Court order in April last year, city police had begun their campaign by booking 3,300 cases on the first day in Chennai. On Tuesday, they were back with renewed vigour, taking away rolls of the removed films to be shown to their bosses as evidence of their toil.
Joint commissioner of police (traffic) R Dinakaran said when the crackdown started in May, police were booking violators and removing the films. But later they started to only fine the motorists. “In the first few days, we were booking more than 700 cases a day,” he said. “We will intensify the drive. On Tuesday, more than 2,000 cases were booked.” Policemen said they have been given targets in the latest crackdown. 

Police formed 24 teams, each headed by a sub-inspector and consisting of three constables, and did not spare even private company buses. As police teams stopped buses with dark glasses, trafficcame to a standstill on Old Mahabalipuram Road and 200 Feet Road between 5.30pm and 6.30pm. “I took close to an hour to travel some 3km from Thoraipakkam to Kamakshi Hospital,” said R Manoj, a quality consultant. “The buses were made to stop with employees still inside. Many of them got off the buses, further congesting the road,” he said.

Bus operators said it was unfair. “We had given a representation to the police commissioner few months ago, but there was no response. It takes at least six months to change the glasses of buses and it costs 15,000 each,” said A Afzal, chairman for staff transport operators association.      Additional commissioner of police (traffic) Karuna Sagar said he had given the bus owners enough time to fall in line. “These buses have completely dark windows. The panes don’t allow any visibility – like the ones on the bus in which Nirbhaya was attacked. A lot of women work late in IT companies and their safety is important,” he said.

So there is some light inside and out of the vehicles ~ do you have a tinted glass still in your car ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

31st July 2013.  

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