Legalize Front Window Tint and Abolish Front License Plates in BC
Legalize Front Window Tint and Abolish Front License Plates in BC
Dear Mike Farnworth, as the Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General of British Columbia, I am proposing two changes to the Motor Vehicle Regulations of British Columbia. It's time to make a change to two outdated Motor Vehicle Regulations that are heavily enforced by the RCMP and municipal police forces throughout British Columbia.
Front window tint
Many people may read the title and assume that I’m speaking of limo tint, which is generally recognized as allowing 5% VLT, but this is not the case. I am here to fight for the legalization of front window tint in the province of British Columbia, specifically allowing 35% VLT.
The reason why I’ve stated 35% VLT is the goal we should go for is because it offers a level of privacy, however, you can still see in from the outside and you can see outside of it just as perfectly as you could if there was no tint there. In British Columbia, we have cyclists and pedestrians who need to make eye contact with drivers, and 35% VLT is not anywhere near dark enough to prohibit them from making eye contact with fellow road users.
As a reference, here is a picture of a vehicle with 35% VLT on all of their windows, including the front driver’s side and passenger’s:
As you can see, you can see right through it, and you would be able to communicate with other road users as you can see which way the driver is looking, and where their eyes are!
Some of the benefits of front window tint
Now, British Columbia isn’t just Vancouver or the Lower Mainland, but in places like Osoyoos or Kelowna where temperatures in the summer are regularly in the mid to high thirties, and in Osoyoos it can hit the 40’s.
· Window tint on the driver and passenger’s side can help fellow British Columbians stay cool, and actually have the air conditioning in their vehicles run more efficiently and use less fuel because less heat will be coming in due to the film applied, allowing the interior to remain cooler.
· Using less fuel means it’s beneficial to the environment, and many British Columbians are always advocating about how we should protect the environment.
· Speaking of the interior, a film on the front windows allows you to protect the interior from damage, specifically, leather from being damaged due to the sun cracking it.
· Furthermore, 35% VLT will cause vehicle break-ins to go down as it will help obscure valuables in one’s vehicle.
· Vehicles look aesthetically better, and enhance the value due to the looks and interior protection in the long run.
Why is front window tint illegal?
Under section 7.05(8) of the Motor Vehicle Regulations Act; “No person shall drive or operate on a highway a motor vehicle which has affixed to or placed on the windshield or a window any material that reduces the light transmitted through the windshield or window unless the material is affixed to or placed on”
(a) the windshield but not more than 75mm below the top of the windshield,
(b) a side window that is behind the driver, or
(c) the rear window if the motor vehicle is equipped with outside rear view mirrors on the left and right side of the motor vehicle.
The Motor Vehicle Act of British Columbia was created in 1996, and the section for window tint is clearly outdated by today’s standards. Basically, front window tint is illegal in BC because cops want to be able to see inside our vehicles at all times, and they want to keep it illegal so it can be used to generate more revenue by issuing unfair $109 tickets. Here is a list of why the authorities are against front window tint:
· They’ll say if the front windows are tinted, they won’t be able to do seatbelt and cell phone checks.
· It is also stated that if a vehicle becomes submerged underwater, it will become harder to break the glass from the inside to escape the vehicle (honestly, how often does this happen in BC every year, does anyone have a statistic for this?).
· Another point is that the front side windows are designed to shatter into small pieces in a collision, so if need be, first responders can pull you out of the vehicle easier.
· Police say that front side windows being tinted are a police safety issue.
· Police are unable to see how many occupants are in a vehicle.
· Decreases visibility.
Most of what was said above is really not true!
Most, if not all of those claims made by the police throughout BC can be debunked very easily. First off, the petition clearly stated that our goal is 35% VLT, so police officers can still see through and look to see who’s on their phone, or who doesn’t have their seatbelts on.
About the seatbelt checks, in British Columbia, there is no limit to how much you can tint the rear windows. Therefore, you can have limo tint which is 5% VLT, which you cannot see through. So how would police officers be able to check to see if rear passengers have their seatbelts on, or how rear passengers are able to break the glass if the vehicle has submerged, or when pulling over a vehicle during a traffic stop, not being able to see how many people are in the vehicle due to have very dark tint in the back? Allowing us to tint our back windows to any darkness we want could be considered an actual police safety issue. If the front glass shatters during a collision, and you have film on the front windows, the film will actually hold most of the chunks of glass, and if first responders need to take you out of the vehicle, all they need to do is pull the film, and the shards of glass will be in there (demonstration of front window with film being broken is in the references). The fact that they make it seem like how tint will cause large shards of glass flying around the vehicle is invalid, if this were the case, why do some provinces allow the practice, and why do all but 3 states allow the practice?
In British Columbia, it rains a lot, but decreased visibility with 35% VLT is no issue at all. I’ve had 35% VLT for over a year, and it makes no difference in driving in the rain than without it. When looking at the windshield and the side, it seems as if the side front doors aren’t even tinted, that’s how light 35% VLT really is. I have 5% VLT on the rear windows, and when it’s dark and raining, it’s a problem because you can’t really see outside at all in the dark and rain. If we look down to our neighbors in Washington (which is a great comparison due to us having the exact same weather), residents of Washington State can tint their front windows for a sedan, down to 24% VLT, which is 11% less than what I’m going for with this petition. They also have to deal with dark and rainy winters, and they seem just fine!
All of those points that officers stated as to why front window tint have just been debunked, and if they were really an issue, then why does every state in the US except for 3, have allowed residents to tint their front windows? If those concerns that police stated were real, then window tint would be banned in America where there is a tremendous amount of crime (especially knowing many citizens are armed, not the case in BC), and a larger distrust between citizens and the police. Not all, but there are specific police vehicles that have their front windows tinted, so why do they get to be above the law?
If you don’t care about a comparison to the States, then let me state by saying Manitoba allows 50% VLT on the front side windows. Over in Quebec, you’re allowed to have 70% VLT on the front side windows. In Ontario, it’s up to the cop to issue u a ticket. The general rule in Ontario is that the police officer should be able to see in the car (35% VLT allows this, and this is the percentage tint shops in Ontario recommend).
Having no film to protect our skin from the sun while driving, as we’re not even allowed UV film in BC, UVA rays make contact with our skin, which increases the chances of developing skin cancer, or causes the skin’s aging process to speed up.
“In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that skin cancer patients who had spent significant time driving a car each week were more likely to develop skin cancers on the left side of their bodies and faces – the side that is more exposed to sunlight while driving. Other studies have backed up this important finding. So, although getting sunburned in a car (other than a convertible) is highly unlikely, long-term skin damage can occur if you drive a lot and your skin is not protected.”
If you have a disease such as cutaneous porphyria, which is a disease that makes your skin sensitive to sunlight, you still cannot legally have any film to help your condition. A former police officer wrote an article on https://drivesmartbc.ca and stated that even with this condition, RoadSafetyBC will deny the person from legally allowing a film that would help them.
This image is of a truck driver who was constantly exposed to the sun while driving, and the effects of the sun on the skin without window tint protecting can be devastating.
Other skin conditions such as eczema (that I personally have), can be triggered by the heat and sun, and it personally makes my condition much worse, especially on the hands and neck. Lupus is another disease where window tint would vastly help those with the disease. A symptom of lupus are skin lesions that are caused by sun exposure, and can be worsened by sun exposure as well.
As I’ve had 35% VLT on the front side windows for over a year now, I’ve received two tickets. I explained to the first officer about UV rays and it causing cancer while you’re driving, and he replied saying “there’s no such thing” (I have this interaction recorded). This just goes to show how the police in BC are either uneducated, or just want to be watching us the entire time. The second officer told me how it’s a major safety issue with cyclists and such, when you can clearly see through 35% tint (VPD motorcycle cop, their job is just handing out tickets). Both times I was driving the speed limit, and the reason for the stop was because of the tint.
Some new vehicles come with the front windows darkened from the factory, this doesn’t mean there is a film, it means that the glass has been darkened from the factory. This is usually not dark at all, but you can tell that it’s not clear as regular glass, and it is the only loophole, as there is no actual film applied to the window, therefore, under section 7.05(8) you cannot be given a citation by the police.
This petition states the benefits of window tint, and how the reasons stated by the authorities are nowhere near reasonable enough to stop us from tinting our front windows. It allows privacy, but let’s other road users communicate with you by being able to see you. Citizens are protected from harmful rays produced by the sun, and the police are still able to see who has their seatbelts on, and who’s using a mobile device. I’m not asking for limo tint, I’m asking for 35% VLT specifically because it is the best of both worlds. It’s time to get rid of this old motor vehicle act from over two decades ago, and it’s time for a change.
Front license plates
In British Columbia, it is required for residents to have two license plates, one for the rear, and one for the front bumper. Law enforcement states that having a front license plate will help them with amber alerts, insurance claims, and stolen vehicles, just to state a few reasons. While these points may seem valid, one plate is actually enough.
Attachment of number plates
3.011 Number plates issued for a vehicle under the Commercial Transport Act, or Motor Vehicle Act must be attached
(a)one plate to the front and one plate to the rear of the vehicle, if 2 number plates are issued for a vehicle
When purchasing a new vehicle, having to drill holes into the front bumper for the front license plate just sucks (this can devalue the car too). I’d estimate saying those who do have a front license plate, probably greater than 95% of those have it drilled, whereas some cars have it attached to the far left or far right side of the bumper with a different method of holding the plate in place. Then you’ll see some cars on the road that have their front license plates in the dash of their interiors (this is actually a $230 fine, as opposed to not having one at all which would be $109, weird isn’t it?). The vast majority of people would say that their vehicle would look much better without the front plate and drilled holes, then it does with the front plate.
There are only three provinces that require front license plates, and those provinces are British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario. Last year, New Brunswick got rid of front license plates, as the Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart stated that “it’s what the people wanted”. Let’s show our Public Safety Minister Mark Farnworth that we as the people, also want this. Furthermore, Ontario’s government also had discussions to get rid of their front plates as well last year. So far, 10 out of 14 provinces do not require a front license plate, and they’re doing just fine.
In many situations when you’re trying to get the license plate of another driver, it’s usually too late to even look at the front one as you won’t be able to see it, which is why the rear one is the most important one, and the only one we should be required to put on our vehicles.
One license plate is enough, and 10 other provinces can vouch for that.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5trhgdoHd38 (9:09 in the video, look at how the film holds most of the glass shards together)