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Check Your Sunglasses: Taxi drivers and other motorists risk £5,000 fines over illegal shades

Updated: May 6



Motorists have been urged to verify the legality of their sunglasses before driving to avoid penalties and a potential £5,000 fine.


This early May bank holiday has brought the first glimpse of real sunshine, with many drivers taking the opportunity to hit the road whether it be for work or leisure reasons. However, driving experts at Quotezone.co.uk have cautioned UK motorists to ensure their sunglasses are appropriate for driving in bright sunlight.

Rule 237 of the Highway Code advises drivers to slow down or pull over if dazzled by sunlight. However, wearing sunglasses with incorrect tint levels could also be dangerous.


All sunglasses sold in the UK must carry a category number, which indicates their suitability for driving. Sunglasses are rated from zero to four, based on the level of light they transmit.


Most standard sunglasses are labelled ‘category two’, allowing between 18% and 43% of light to pass through, making them suitable for daytime driving. However, ‘category four’ sunglasses have a very dark tint, transmitting just 3% to 8% of light. Such sunglasses are unsuitable for driving and should be clearly labelled as such.

Motorists are also warned against sunglasses with wide side arms, which can hinder peripheral vision, and fashion or yellow-tinted glasses, which may not offer adequate protection from the sun.


Driving with inappropriate eyewear poses a risk to pedestrians and other road users, as it may impede drivers' ability to detect dangers. Those found guilty of dangerous driving could face up to 11 penalty points, unlimited fines, and even up to five years in prison.

 

Greg Wilson, Founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk, said: “Carrying a spare pair of legal sunglasses in your glove box is essential during these brighter months – especially in the UK when we don’t know when the sun will appear.

 

“Wearing the right pair of sunglasses will help keep yourself and other road users safe this summer - inappropriate eyewear could put you at risk of fines, penalty points or worse.

 

“Sunglasses are labelled in four categories to show if they’re suitable for road use. The average pair of sunnies are ‘category two’ and are therefore appropriate for driving.

 

“However, darker sunglasses in ‘category four’, any small fashion glasses, yellow tinted glasses or a pair with large side arms can be deemed  too dangerous to drive in.

 

“Any driver wearing inappropriate sunglasses could be subject to a dangerous driving charge - which potentially comes with hefty fines, penalty points and even prison time.

 

“If you are dazzled by the sunlight and it’s becoming too bright and dangerous to drive, make sure to slow down or pull over until it is safe to continue and don’t take the risk. 

 

“It’s your responsibility to make sure your vision isn’t compromised, if you don’t protect your eyes properly from the sun and you have an accident, you could invalidate your car insurance.”

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