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Tinted car windows face ban

Road safety officials call for changes as police cannot see if drivers are using mobiles

TINTED car windows may be banned under proposals put to government road safety advisers after fears raised by police.

The head of Sécurité Routière at the Interior Ministry, Frédéric Péchenard, said the police were concerned at the increasing numbers of cars with tints so dark officers could not see who was inside the vehicle and what they were doing.

It put them in danger as officers could only see into cars with tinted front side windows through the windscreen – so could not see if people were wearing seat belts or if the driver was using his mobile phone at the wheel.

Mr Péchenard said it reduced drivers’ visibility and was particularly dangerous for bikers and scooter users who were used to glancing into car windows to get advance information about the driver. They would give those using a mobile a wider berth. Losing this advance information could put two-wheel users in more danger.

Car industry bosses have their doubts, with Nicolas Guiselin of the tinted window suppliers’ federation ASFFV telling Le Figaro that tinted films were fitted to protect car occupants from attack (as it stopped the window breaking), helped conceal packages or other items left on seats and were used by women who wanted to avoid unwanted attention.

He said that tints could even help cut costs as they reduced sun glare and the need for air conditioning. Any changes could affect a sector with 650 businesses employing 1,200 people and fitting out 160,000 vehicles a year.

At the moment the law only says it is forbidden to tint side windows if they deform or reduce visibility: the ASFFV proposes that this be changed so that films could not cut out more than 35% of visible light.

The issue will be raised at this month’s meeting of the Conseil National de la Sécurité Routière – which will also consider proposals to reduce the national speed limit on ordinary roads from 90kph to 80kph.

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