The authorities in the Central American state of Belize have introduced a new law restricting the degree of window tinting on all vehicles in the country.
The new statutory instrument, which comes into effect from 1st June, is designed both to improve vehicle safety and to help outlaw covert criminal activity.
In terms of safety, the country’s Ministry of Transport says it is concerned that vehicles fitted with too heavy a car window tint could obscure driver vision, particularly during the hours of darkness or in rainy weather.
At the same time, the Ministry is worried that car window darkening could be employed in an effort to deliberately obscure the presence of illegal weapons.
As a consequence, the new rules stipulate that:
• Any tinting on the front windscreen and on the side windows at the front of a vehicle must permit a visible light penetration of at least 50%
• Any tinting on the rear windscreen and rear side windows of a vehicle must permit a visible light penetration of at least 20%
• The front windscreen must include a four inch deep strip across the top which is completely free of any car window tint.
• Reflective coatings are expressly forbidden on the front windscreen
The rationale behind the Belize specifications for a 50% windscreen penetration ratio starts to become clear when contrasted with the 75% windscreen penetration decreed for car window tinting in Manchester and other UK towns; put simply, the less bright and sunny the climate, the lighter the tint needs to be.