Public urged to follow car window tinting regulations

PETALING JAYA: The public has been advised to follow Road Transport Department (RTD) rules on vehicle window tinting rather than be swayed by factors such as privacy, UV protection and aesthetics.

Universiti Putra Malaysia Road Safety Research Centre head Assoc Prof Dr Law Teik Hua emphasised that RTD rules seek to maintain a safe driving environment for all road users.

He was commenting on complaints by motorists on social media regarding vehicles with heavy tints and why no action has been taken.

“Window tinting regulations have been drawn up to address various safety concerns while recognising the legitimate desires of drivers for privacy, UV protection and overall road safety.

“RTD issued 108,438 notices for window tinting offences from 2019 to 2023. Another 17,218 summonses were issued over illegal window tints.”

He said ensuring visibility through the front windshield is crucial to clearly see the road, traffic signs and other vehicles, so regulations mandate the front windshield must allow at least 70% light to pass through.

“The front side windows must permit at least 50% light to pass, so drivers can easily see and maintain some level of privacy,” he said, adding that the regulations maintain appropriate visibility levels for vehicle windows to reduce the risk of a crash and facilitate safe driving and driver interaction.

Law said studies on the impact of tinted windows on road safety indicate that excessive tinting correlates to reduced visibility and an increased risk of crashing since excellent visibility is crucial for lane changes, merging and reversing.

“Research suggests that heavy window tinting could affect a driver’s ability to accurately perceive his surroundings. This impacts reaction times and situational awareness.

“Tinted windows could also make it challenging to notice smaller road users, such as cyclists or motorcyclists,” he said, adding that setting maximum tint levels would ensure drivers have sufficient visibility while still obtaining a degree of privacy and UV protection.

He said the benefits of tinting must be balanced with the need for clear visibility to enhance road safety for everyone, especially since the public may not realise that excessively tinted windows could pose significant risks during emergencies or medical crises.

“A primary concern is that tinted windows may obstruct external visibility and limit the ability of emergency responders to assess the situation quickly and effectively.

“The lack of visibility could make it harder for responders to see inside a vehicle and determine the condition of its occupants, potentially delaying vital rescue efforts.”

Law emphasised that every minute counts during medical emergencies and any delays could have serious consequences for the well-being of the injured individuals.

He said instances in which tinted windows contributed to or worsened accidents were often due to compromised visibility.

“Such incidents highlight the importance of adhering to legal tinting limits and maintaining clear visibility, particularly for critical windows such as the windshield and front side windows.”

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