New tint regulations are now supposed to take effect on June 7 after Work and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan yesterday agreed to extend the moratorium on the new law.
However, some garage owners say the impending regulations will trigger the decimation of the tint industry. They say many foreign used vehicles come with a factory-tint and garage owners are suffering material wastage as they attempt to install the right tint specifications in sync with the new regulations.
At Tint Xpert garage at Palmyra, tint specialist Sheriff Mohammed installed a 35 per cent VLT (Visible Light Transmission) on a Toyota Aqua that has a black factory tint in the back and a clear tint at the front. However, he said after applying the legal 35 per cent VLT, the tint metre tested at 25 per cent which was deemed illegal.
Based on the new Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Windscreen and Window Tint) Regulations 2020, front windscreens must be measured at 70 per cent; windscreen’s anti-glare band 35 per cent and each front window (including side wing/side window) must be no less than 35 per cent. Each rear window (including side window) and rear windscreen must also be no less than 20 per cent or 17 per cent based on a three per cent margin of error.
If a vehicle’s tint does not meet these requirements, the driver commits a violation which draws a $2,000 fine and three demerit points.
To meet the legal requirement on the Aqua, Mohammed had to strip off the 35 per cent tint and apply a 40 per cent VLT tint, which finally read legal by the metre.
But Mohammed said this was unfair to an unsuspecting motorist who would have assumed that a 35 per cent legal tint is legal, when in fact the VLT would be much less. Saying the tint industry will be decimated in the next six months because of the new regulations, Mohammed said, “People will be afraid to tint their cars because people cannot afford to pay a $2,000 fine in these rounds.”
Apart from the wastage of material, Mohammed said it was difficult to acquire tint material because of the shortage of foreign exchange. He explained that each vehicle’s VLT will test differently depending on the factory tint of the glass.
“This means that garage owners will have to face a trial and error before they could come up with the right tint,” he said.
He noted that not all garages had a tint metre, so when an unsuspecting customer goes to install a legal 35 per cent tint, it may most likely turn up illegal after installation.
Meanwhile, Sheriza Mohammed said she was thankful that the Government had granted another three-month moratorium.
“Right now we need a lot more clarification on the VLT. Lots of vehicles have a dye that currently reading 80 or 75 and when you put a tint, it reads lower. With the testing now, we have a machine and this machine tests. There is a margin of error of three-plus or minus three from the regulations. This is also causing some confusion,” Mohammed said.
Motorist Rajiv Changoor said there was uncertainty with the tint.
“You don’t know if this will be the correct tinting procedures. There is a lot of uncertainty about which tint is legal if you end up in a police stop point,” Changoor said.
Saying a tint was necessary, he added, “A tint protects the interior of your car. All of us wants a car that will last ten years. When you are ready to sell, you don’t want a car with sun damage. Also, some people may have a skin condition and needs a tint to protect them from the sun.”
Minister Sinanan announced the extension on yesterday’s CNC3 Morning Brew programme with anchor Jessie-May Ventour.
“We recognised that a lot of people have made effort to adjust their tint and go back to garages to check their levels. There is a significant amount who are above the legal limit. We went to Cabinet and we agreed to allow a further three months because of the number of people who want to get compliant,” Sinanan said.
He added, “This is not a system to collect revenue. It is for safety where officers are allowed to see who are the drivers and occupants of vehicles in T&T.”
Sinanan said tint metres have been supplied to the Licensing Authority and the police. He said the levels that are being used were also used internationally.
“If you are bringing a vehicle now, you have to be compliant with the law. The Transport Commissioner can grant an exemption. There are certain criteria to qualify to get an exemption,” he said.
Sinanan said the ministry will also be rolling out a campaign to educate the population.
“A lot of people are spreading inaccurate information and this is another reason why the moratorium is being extended,” he said.
He noted that used and new car dealers and customized tint shops must also follow the law.