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WINDOW TINTING: Relaxation of taxi and PHV rules faces OPPOSITION in proposal responses shared

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

Taxi drivers looking for a relaxation on strict vehicle window tinting rules to help drivers save money as part of new licensing guidance proposals could face stiff concerns following early responses tabled by stakeholders within the industry.

The Government recently closed 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.

Some licensing authorities and vehicle owners were expected 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.

In two of the early consultation responses made public, there seems to be an ongoing concern that relaxing window tints for both taxis and PHVs could be counter productive when it comes to public safety.

The Local Government Association (LGA) highlighted worries in their response to the proposed guidance: “The guidance suggests that, in general, tinted windows should be permitted in taxis/PHVs. The LGA has concerns about the possible public safety implications of tinted windows. We are aware of several councils who try to take a preventative approach in their local areas by restricting the use of vehicles with tinted windows.

“Their view is that a more widespread use of tinted windows could impact on the public’s confidence to use taxis/PHVs and increase safeguarding risks in an area. Other councils expressed views that if tinted windows are to be permitted, it is important to have other safety measures, such as CCTV, in place.”

Grant Davis, Chairman of the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC), was also against the idea of allowing tinted windows due to past incidents relating to public safety. Davis said: “No tinted windows in PH Vehicles: These new DFT standards are due to the grooming gangs in the North of England and we feel it is abhorrent that members of the public can be abused in PH vehicles under the darkness of tinted windows.”

Should tinted windows be allowed in taxis and PHVs?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Unsure

What did the DfT propose in the Best Practice Guidance?

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.


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