Traffic > Decree

MMDA wants to peel off your car’s dark window tint

So its traffic enforcers can see your cabin better

How dark is your car tint? The MMDA is asking. IMAGE BY VERNON B. SARNE

In the Philippines, criminal elements who want to relieve you of your valuables walk freely and casually among law-abiding citizens. They won’t think twice about smashing your car’s windows just to reach inside and get that tempting bag in the back seat. Worse, there are those who will stalk you and forcibly take your car at gunpoint when the opportunity presents itself.

It’s mainly for these reasons that many motorists in this country give their car windows a very dark tint. That thin shroud of privacy affords them some peace of mind on the road.

Of course, there’s also the issue of extreme heat from the tropical sun. No one wants to leave a vehicle baking in an open parking area with clear glass all around. This won’t be very good for the plastic parts inside the cabin.

Simply put, there are truly valid excuses for getting a dark window tint for the car.

Alas, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is now renewing its call to regulate the installation of said tint products, as its personnel are now having a difficult time spotting solo drivers on EDSA. This is in connection with the new High-Occupancy Vehicle scheme that bans single-passenger cars from the busy thoroughfare during rush hour. You might recall that the agency also wanted to prohibit dark car tint last year upon the implementation of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act, so its traffic marshals could easily see if a driver was using a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle.

In a press statement released yesterday, MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia cited the unique challenge of seeing through tinted windshields and windows using CCTV cameras. Of the 156 heavily tinted cars his agency’s personnel observed, not a single one offered an acceptable view of the cabin. In other words, the MMDA failed to ascertain whether these vehicles had at least two passengers onboard.

And so, the MMDA is again coordinating with the Land Transportation Office for a possible new window-tint regulation. Here’s a portion of the press statement:

LTO Law Enforcement Services director Francis Almora, who attended the press briefing, announced that they would soon come out with the regulation on car tints. Once the regulation takes effect, Almora said drivers have to modify the color of their car tints to comply with the requirements.

“No motor vehicle will be registered with the LTO with heavily tinted [windows],” said Almora.

Tints, according to Almora, are restricted on public-utility vehicles, while there is a minimum visible light transmission tint [standard] on private vehicles.

Garcia also revealed [the MMDA is] contemplating purchasing thermal cameras to catch violators of the Expanded HOV Traffic Scheme.

Will this finally push through this time around? Will car owners protest? Will those in the car tint business lobby against it? Your thoughts?

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 26 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.