Tints reject heat completely and the darkness of tint has little to do with keeping a car cool, say experts. Lauren Lancaster / The National
Tints reject heat completely and the darkness of tint has little to do with keeping a car cool, say experts. Lauren Lancaster / The National

Car window tints let drivers hide from law, say UAE experts

ABU DHABI // A decision to increase the legal level of tinting on car windows to 50 from 30 per cent will allow drivers to break the law without being seen, road safety experts say.

A heavy tint means police will not be able to see if drivers are wearing a seat belt, using their phone or if children are strapped in safely.

Robert Hodges, a driver education expert, said while he was happy with the new law requiring back-seat passengers to buckle up and making child seats mandatory, he was dismayed with the decision on tinting.

“Heavy tints allow drivers to effectively to break the law easily,” Mr Hodges said. “Tints will allow a certain type of person to simply continue using his or her mobile phone with impunity.

“There will be drivers and passengers who will deliberately increase the level of tinting to disobey laws.”

Many people tint their car windows to cut sun and headlight glare, and keep their vehicle cool.

“I had the windows tinted to 50 per cent to keep my car cool,” said Mohammed Baker, 26, a Palestinian accountant. “I don’t think it’s going to be a safety or enforcement issue if the law allows tints of up to 50 per cent.”

But Mr Hodges said the darkness of tint had little to do with keeping a car cool.

“Quality tints such as 3M and V Cool that are completely clear have 100 per cent heat rejection,” he said. “They are designed to work without any darkness.”

Many motorists use tints to allow them and their families privacy, but Mr Hodges, former chief operating officer at Emirates Driving Institute in Dubai, said drivers must be able to see and be seen.

“If ladies require high levels of privacy and modesty, then they should not be drivers or front-seat passengers,” he said. “They should sit in the back of the car and be driven by another person.”

An employee at a car accessories and upholstery shop in Al Nahyan Camp said they normally handled about 10 cars a day, but expected the number to double by June. The shop sold tints ranging from 30 to 60 per cent.

Emiratis and other Arabs prefer to have tints of up 60 per cent, while Asians stick to the permitted level of up to 30 per cent, he said.

Car accessory and tinting shops flouting the law should be prosecuted strongly with fines, imprisonment or forced closure of the business, Mr Hodges said.

Glenn Havinoviski, a US transport expert, suggested shop inspections and licensing, along with vehicle inspection rules for car owners.

“It will take a while for vehicles that have heavier tint to be retrofitted with higher numerical or lesser tint,” Mr Havinoviski said.

“As such, it may be appropriate to allow a 30-day period for vehicles to be retrofitted before charging the full fine. During that period a warning could be issued to the driver if they are in violation.”

The penalty for exceeding the permitted tint level is now Dh1,500, up from the Dh500 fine.

Amer Amer, a food sales manager in Abu Dhabi, said a 50 per cent tint was acceptable but car owners should not be able to tint their front windshields.

“We often see heavily tinted car windows including the windshield, but drivers are unable to see the road clearly at night, which is very dangerous,” Mr Amer said.

Michael Dreznes, executive vice president of the International Road Federation, said motorists should not hide their bad habits and wait for police to penalise them.

“The sad part of this seat belt argument is not that police catch you and give you a penalty for not wearing a seat belt or making children in the back wear a seat belt, the penalty you will pay if involved in a crash and someone in your vehicle is injured or killed because they did not have a seat belt is far more devastating,” he said.


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Our legal consultants

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.


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Nationality: Emirati

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Hobbies: Drawing and reading books about graphic design


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July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

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2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

If you go

The flights

Fly direct to London from the UAE with Etihad, Emirates, British Airways or Virgin Atlantic from about Dh2,500 return including taxes. 

The hotel

Rooms at the convenient and art-conscious Andaz London Liverpool Street cost from £167 (Dh800) per night including taxes.

The tour

The Shoreditch Street Art Tour costs from £15 (Dh73) per person for approximately three hours. 


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Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

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