Updated: May 8, 2022
Taxi drivers have called for a relaxation on strict vehicle window tinting rules to help drivers save money as part of new licensing guidance proposals.
The Government recently opened up a 12-week consultation to update vital Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) guidance supplied to local authorities to better cope with new digital ways of working following the boom in ride-hailing services.
Licensing authorities and vehicle owners are likely to seek a new set of licensing rules for taxi and private hire drivers which reduces the minimum light requirement of tinted windows.
Some policies currently require rear windows to allow 70% light transmission (front windows have statutory requirements of 75% and 70%).
However, because many vehicles are now manufactured with rear window tints less than 70% as standard, there has been long term debate over whether to lower the minimum requirements to help cabbies save money on having to replace windows.
Cabbie Gavin Wallis told TaxiPoint: “Word tinted implies it's done after market. After Market tinting should not be allowed, however factory fitted Privacy Glass AS3 should always be allowed.”
Imran Bukhari also told TaxiPoint: “People forget about the purpose of tinted windows. Car window tinting can block up to 99% of the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays and also reduce heat from sunshine. I had a client request a car with tinted windows once.”
Within the proposed ‘Best Practice Guidance for Licensing Authorities in England’ it says: ‘For most cars on the road today, the minimum light transmission for windscreens is 75% and 70% for front side windows. Vehicles may be manufactured with glass that is darker than this fitted to windows rearward of the driver, especially in luxury, estate and people carrier style vehicles.
‘If the objective of the authority’s prohibition of tinted windows is to address a concern that illegal activity is taking place in a vehicle, the evidence for this should be established and alternative options should be considered, for example, CCTV in vehicles. When licensing vehicles, authorities should be mindful of this as well as the significant costs and inconvenience associated with changing glass that conforms with the requirements of vehicle construction regulations.
‘In the absence of evidence to show that a requirement for the removal of factory fitted windows is necessary and proportionate, licensing authorities should not require their removal as part of vehicle specifications. However, authorities should carefully consider the views of the public and the trade when considering the acceptance of ‘after-market’ tinting.’
The DfT first issued best practice guidance to licensing authorities in 2006 and this was refreshed in 2010.
It has now been recognised that much has changed in the taxi and PHV industry and the time has come to update the guidance to ensure it reflects new ways of working, new technology and feedback from interested parties.
The consultation will run for 12 weeks from 28 March until 23.45pm on 20 June 2022.