Kenya: Simple Device That Traffic Police Should Invest in

There is now a very simple device for measuring the darkness of tinted windows. And it is something traffic police and inspection centres might like to invest in.

It is a simple clip that fits on a window with a light on one side and a light meter on the other. The meter knows how strong the light is if shone through clear glass, and it gives a read-out of the percentage of that score if used on a tinted window.

Internationally, the maximum tint allowed on side windows is about 25 per cent (the meter would show that 75 per cent or more of the standard light strength was “getting through”).

The measuring equipment weighs less than a mobile phone, and the measuring process takes a few seconds. The accuracy is certain.

Testers learn very quickly to judge with the naked eye and from afar whether a tint is obviously okay, or obviously OTT, or a marginal case needing to be checked.

Owners of clear glass can be left in peace. OTT cases can be stopped, and the degree of excess darkness readily measured for legal proof.


Marginal cases can be checked and either given the nod or presented with a choice — remove the tint here and now before you resume your journey, or have your car confiscated to the nearest police station.

Extreme tints can be built-in (the glass would have to be changed) but more often they are achieved using adhesive sheets (which can be peeled off or, in extreme cases, scraped off using the sharp blade of a razor or craft knife, with the action of a carpenter’s woodplane).

In the rational world, front windscreens must be clear glass or have a maximum tint limit of, say, 10 per cent. The side windows on the front doors must be clear glass or have a maximum tint of 25 per cent. Any more than that, and the driver’s ability to see sideways (things like pedestrians) is dangerously compromised.

You may recall a bit of a purge on tinted windows a few years ago. The edict was no tint at all on any windows. An impossible and unnecessary blanket ban, because almost every modern vehicle in the world has a mild tint in all its glass that presents no safety hazard whatsoever.

A classic example of the principle that you should never make a law you can’t enforce.

And to enforce a law that deals with degree, you need to state a number and be able to measure it.

History does not relate how many injustices were imposed by the purge, or how many dangerous malefactors escaped through loopholes in the legislation. But there was, temporarily, a marked reduction in the prevalence of gangster-like glazing on cars.

But the trend of very dark windows (despite national and personal concerns with both gangsterism and terrorism) is now beginning to return.

And some of the tints are so dark that drivers can’t even see their own wing mirrors and have to cut a hole in part of the tinting. It’s bizarre. It should be unacceptable.

But thanks to the new measuring technology, the law can now state a specific limit, and measure it.

The law-abiding motoring majority would welcome the policy.

Source: The Nation