The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has expressed their intent to regulate the use of tint on the windows of privately owned vehicles for a period of three months, according to recent news reports. MMDA chairman Tim Orbos is quoted as saying that the agency wants to enforce stricter rules to prevent criminals from hiding behind darkened windows.
Tint no more? The MMDA seems to have it in for dark windows now.
“Public safety, hindi mo nakikita mababangga ka. Yung krimen, hindi mo nakikita ang mga nandun ay mga masasamang loob,” Orbos said on the news recently. As with so many things in the Philippines, laws and regulations for window tints already exist and actually go all the way back to the 1970s, but that doesn’t mean they are really being enforced on the roads of the Metro or further afield. Doing so wouldn’t be unusual, though: Many other countries already have strict regulations in place for the level of tint allowed on car windows.
My beloved old Ford with “Foreigner Level” window tint.
Germany, for example, generally does not allow for the main wind screen to be tinted apart from a small, no more than ten centimeter wide strip at the top, and side or rear windows are only allowed to be tinted to such a degree that at least 70% of light can still pass through. The material used must also be government approved and the modification, like all changes to the car, must be entered into the vehicle papers to show that it is legal.
German footballer Mario Götze and his Audi tinted to German regulations
While the MMDA certainly has a point in saying that really dark windows can help criminals avoid being seen when driving around, there is also another side to this: not being able to look inside the car from the outside can make driving safer for the occupants, as any person thinking about attacking the car will not be able to estimate how many people – and therefore what level of resistance – he is about to encounter. I will be quite blunt here and also say that, from personal experience as a foreigner who used to drive a lot in Metro Manila, strongly tinted windows also help in not getting picked on by corrupt enforcers who see you coming and single you out for various ‘infractions’.
Nevertheless, tinted windows do have one strong down point: they reduce visibility drastically, especially at night. Unless you happen to own a Maybach limousine that can electronically regulate the level of tint on its windows, the tint on your car will most likely be made of foil and therefore give the same level of light reduction day or night. That can lead to problems while driving, especially on not so well lit roads. As with all things, it’s about balance.
What do you think would be the best thing to do? Ban it, allow it all, or somehow regulate it in the middle? Let us know in the comments!