Things to know about tinted windows and lamps in your vehicle
Great! Another article in the #ThingsToKnow series of post 🙂
Following the increasing number of fatal road accidents, the police has recently announced that they are reinforcing their presence on our roads, especially by multiplying vehicle checkpoints. These operations are meant to control both drivers and vehicles by ensuring that they are compliant to existing laws and regulations. For example, the driver is holding a valid driving licence and the vehicle is in good running conditions with valid insurance and road fitness certificates. The police has also warned the public that they will be more strict towards those not following existing regulations regarding window tinting and lights fitted on vehicles.
Because of the inefficient usage of the media (and more particularly the national television) to create an awareness campaign, I sent a message to the official Facebook Police Page a few days ago. I was pleasantly surprised with their rapid response and helpful hand to get through the correct channel (more precisely, the Traffic Branch) in order to gather the necessary information I needed to write on this specific blog post.
Disclaimer : I am neither a lawyer nor a law enforcement officer. Everything in this post has been written from information I gathered by phone and also, through available online documents. I have also used my personal experience and knowledge wherever needed. Since nothing is official, you should not base on the post to make any assumptions or to challenge any police officer (lol). If you need further and precise information regarding the topic, please get the help of the police, any other authorized officer or a lawyer.
Tinted glasses in vehicles
You probably know already that different tinting levels are accepted depending on whether the tinting was done for the front side windows, rear side windows and rear windshield. But what I write below might shock you.
Plastic or any other materials covering windows and windscreens are forbidden!
Correct me if I’m wrong but all windows tinting done in Mauritius are hence illegal because they all use plastic films. It is very easy to recognize them because anyone can tear them off (or scratch them) from the inside of the vehicle.
The only legal tinted windows in vehicles might be those with a factory tint. I’m hereby referring to those vehicles which are tinted directly in their manufacturing industries through a special process without the use of any films.
Amount of tinting permitted
Coming to the percentage of light that the tinting allows to pass through, the Visible Light Transmission (VLT) is the term used worldwide. A high amount of VLT means that the glass allows a maximum amount of light to enter while a low VLT means that most light is blocked.
Here’s what the law says regarding the amount of light :
18. Safety glass and safety glazing :
(5) (a) Subject to subparagraph (b), the glass of the front windscreen and windows of every motor vehicle shall have a visual transmission of light of not less than 75 per cent when measured perpendicular to the surface in accordance with the procedure specified in the operating manual of such device as may be prescribed.
In simpler terms :
- Front : In Mauritius, front side windows should have no less than 75% VLT, meaning that the tint should allow at least 75% of light to enter the vehicle.
- Rear : There’s no restriction. In fact, the law does not regulate the use of tints (whether plastic material or factory-tint) in the rear side windows or rear windshield.
It is good to know that practically no country (or perhaps none) allows 100% tinting for front side windows of any vehicles mainly because of traffic hazards. For example, in the United Kingdom, front side windows can have no less than 70% VLT while in Italy, tinting is legal only for rear windows and rear windshield.
Now, let’s come to the second interesting part concerning the lights at the front and rear of your vehicle. I believe that the extracts quoted below are pretty straight-forward and simple to understand.
Number of lamps
Let’s go :
103. Requirements for lighting
(4) Where a motor vehicle equipped with headlamps is also equipped with any other lamp on its front, no person shall drive the vehicle with more than 4 lamps lighted at the same time.
(5) No person shall light a fog lamp or lamps unless road visibility is reduced to less than 100 meters.
In order to understand the above paragraph, here’s the definition of head lamp in our law :
“head lamp” means a lamp, other than a fog lamp, used to illuminate the road in front of a motor vehicle;
In regards to the number of lamps permitted, it is interesting to note that some vehicles have either one set up of lights as described below :
- A single headlamp on each side.
This headlamp can emit both main and dipped beam of light, commonly called “full” and “dim” in creole)
- A pair of lamps on each side
The main and dipped beam of light are emitted by two separate lamps
The officer of the Traffic Branch explained to me that as long as the main and dipped sources of light are made up in the same unit, there no need to no worry as the police may count this pair as one unit only. I have the impression that this might be the case for vehicles having separate smaller front position lamps / parking lamps / standing lamps.
Now, the colors :
Daytime running lights (DRL)
The Daytime Running Lamps are those lights which are automatically on when the ignition key of the vehicle is turned on. They are sometimes dedicated lights, sometimes in the form of LED strips or in some models, the dipped lamp automatically emits a beam of lower intensity. While the usage of DRL is not regulated in Mauritius yet, it is interesting to note that some countries require that DRL should be on all vehicles or certain type of vehicles.
I will do it point-wise:
- If your vehicle has a plastic (or made with any other material) film on the front-side windows, you are committing an offence, irrespective of the percentage of tint.
- You can do window tinting (with plastic or any other material) for your rear-side windows or windshield without any restriction.
- You can’t use any other light except than white (for headlamps, fogs, license plate) and amber / yellow for your hazard lights in the front of your vehicle
- You can’t use any other light except than red (brake lights) or amber (hazard lights) or white (licence plate) at the rear of your vehicle
- You can’t switch on your lamps (headlamps or fog lights) unless road visibility is less than 100m.
- You can have a maximum of 4 lamps (excluding fog lights) at the front of your vehicle.
- Licence plate numbers of the type K-2000 or decorative lights are not allowed.
I believe that everything above seems fair except the prohibited usage of plastic films for tinting front side windows. The existing law seems to privilege only those who can afford paying huge amount of money for a factory-tint of the front-side windows at the time of purchase of their vehicle. However, if you have plastic film tints on your front side windows, I advise you to remove them before being unnecessarily bothered and sanctioned by the Police. As for the regulations regarding lights, I totally feel that the existing framework is good enough.
Everything now lies in the hands of the authorities (Police and NTA) because without a strict law enforcement, the number of vehicles with colored and blinding light beams are increasing considerably on our roads.
Thank you for keeping tuned to the blog 😉