WESTLOCK – Westlock RCMP Traffic Services will be cracking down on illegal window tinting this spring, saying it’s not only dangerous for police, but to drivers as well.
The blitz, which is being done in cooperation with the Westlock and Barrhead RCMP detachments, is part of an ongoing effort as Westlock Traffic Service Cpl. Fleming Kaastrup said “it’s getting to be ridiculous out there.”
“Unfortunately, we haven’t been targeting it as much … if someone got stopped for something else, they’d get a tint ticket as a bonus,” he said with chuckle. “But it’s becoming a problem. Guys are driving around with limo tint on their windows and even tint on the front windows and banners there too.”
As it stands, anything from the “shoulder forward” on your vehicle can’t be tinted — the primary offence, which carries an $81 fine, is under the Vehicle Equipment Regulation Section 70(1) install/replace/cover window glazing in windshield/left/right side window of motor vehicle located beside/forward driver with transparent/translucent/opaque material.
“I tell people that they don’t wear their sunglasses in the dark. When you’re driving in a vehicle at night with tinted side windows, you’re limiting your side peripheral vision. You can’t see a pedestrian walking beside you because it’s dark and your window is dark. It reduces your field of vision,” he explained.
And while officer safety is also a concern as the tint hides the identity of the driver, the film makes the window react differently which can become life or death if someone is trapped and needs to be extricated. Kaastrup also noted that a driver involved in right-angle collision with tint on their window could see their insurance not covering them because “they had modified their vehicle and made it unsafe.”
“The windows don’t behave as they’re designed with the film. You can end up with a vehicle you can’t get into or out of and that’s a big concern,” he explained.
After the ticket, police then issue a “defect notice” meaning the vehicle owner needs to remove the tint. Police usually give people a week or so to remove the tint while failing to comply leads to another $243 fine.
“That ticket is failure to obey the direction of a police officer to make your vehicle safe. If you don’t meet the deadline for your defect notice, we just mail that ticket out,” he said.
Mandatory screening continues
Kaastrup also reminded motorists that if they’re stopped for a traffic offence or at a checkstop, they should expect to undergo mandatory alcohol screening (MAS).
RCMP Traffic Services are committed to using MAS in an “equitable and non-discriminatory fashion” for consideration in every interaction with drivers and “are confident that the test can be completed with little or no further delay than was expected for the initial traffic stop.”
“We’re still working on the education portion of that, but it’s one of our better tools to stop impaired driving,” he added.