LTO talks to private sector on car tint regulations

AUTO NEWS

Land Transportation Office meets on car tint types, VLT, and enforcement

The coming regulation of window tint to aid enforcement of high occupancy vehicles and distracted driving is moving along as the Land Transportation Office recently held a consultation meeting with members of the public and private sector.

At the consultation meeting held at the LTO main office in East Ave. were representative from the truck and passenger vehicle manufacturers, TNVS operators, enforcement agencies, and select members of the media. The meeting was held in order to get a more concrete idea of the various shades of tint available in the market, the standard shades already equipped in vehicles as standard, as well as the driving public’s need for health, safety, security and privacy provided by window film. The meeting was moderated by LTO assistant secretary, Edgar Galvante.

The meeting was started with illustrations of the various types of tint available in the market. These shades were classified according to their percentage of visible light transmission (VLT). From there, the various recommendations from tint suppliers and vehicle manufacturers were presented.

All parties addressed both new and existing vehicles, as well as PUVs. The tint suppliers recommended a 30% VLT for the front windshield and front side windows while the rear windows remain unregulated both for new and currently registered vehicles. The truck and passenger vehicle manufacturers, on the other hand, recommended a 70% VLT for the front windshield and front side windows while the rear windows should remain unregulated. The manufacturers noted that several models they offer already come equipped with privacy glass in the rear windows with 20% VLT as standard. These were the result of existing regulations in other countries. If the Philippines were to implement a different regulation, these vehicles would need time to be modified to be compliant.

Finally, members from the media and private sectors cited safety and security, particularly to protect lone female drivers from being targeted and their potential harassment, as the main reason for applying heavy tint. Another question was posed as to how the LTO will enforce tint regulation, be it through the annual registration process or through roadside checkpoints.

The LTO, in turn, took note of these points. They highlighted the need to be able to identify how many passengers are in the vehicle in order to properly enforce the proposed high occupancy vehicle lane. In addition, individuals with health and safety concerns that require heavy tint may apply for exemptions and will be deliberated upon on a case to case basis.

“Safety and security is our primordial concern,” said LTO assistant secretary Galvante. “Whatever we decide, we will give the manufacturers and the public a reasonable amount of time to comply with the regulations once they are finalized.”

The LTO has yet to make a final decision with regard to the tint VLT that will be enforced. They did state however that the final VLT percentage will be a single figure, determined by a tint meter which can be easily acquired. The reading will also be based on the total VLT that the meter detects, regardless of how many layers of tint are applied.

Visor tints on the front windshield appear to be tolerated so long as it does not cover the main area of the windshield; a specific measurement will be provided later on. Finally, ‘magic’ or ‘mirror’ tints appear to be unfavorable as they inhibit the detection of passengers, particularly when the vehicle is viewed from an elevated position like from CCTV cameras.

This meeting is by no means final as the LTO intends to have more consultation meetings, particularly with different areas of the country in order to derive a proper consensus on the ideal VLT percentage. It seems there is still a lot of discussion needed and that the tint regulation may be implemented in the latter half of the year.

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