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Troubles over tinted windows
Editor: On Sept. 28, 2013 (a very sunny day), I was driving south on 196 Street in Langley. I saw an unmarked RCMP SUV-type vehicle with two uniformed officers travelling toward me.
Moments later, I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw the same vehicle put its emergency lights on and do a U-turn in a construction zone. There was heavy traffic and the road marking indicated a double solid line.
My first thought was, “there must be a real emergency.” I carried on and then turned right at the stop sign at 60 Avenue and 196 Street.
Again I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw the SUV weaving in and out of traffic and I was very surprised when the vehicle pulled in behind me. After several minutes, an officer from the passenger side of the SUV approached my passenger door.
“Why did you stop me? I asked.
“I’ll tell you later,” he growled and then took my licence and registration.
He returned a short time later and said, “Here’s a ticket for tinted windows.”
I questioned him about the tint which was on the truck when I bought it a number of years ago.
“There is a zero tolerance of any tint from the driver’s seat forward,” he said.
I was quite surprised. How can this be true when more than half the vehicles on the road have some sort of tint?
I think he was being less than truthful with me.
My GMC Sonoma was a custom order in 1999 and I purchased the vehicle second-hand in 2002. When I purchased the vehicle, the original owner gave me the custom order that states the vehicle was ordered with tinted windows as an additional cost of $160.
If the RCMP take this as a serious offence, why not simply tell all auto glass shops to discontinue the practice and disallow the sale of vehicles with tinted windows?
The effort these officers went to in order to pull me over tells me that there was another reason other than tinted windows. I firmly believe these officers saw a nicely detailed black pickup truck and made an assumption that I was possibly a gang member.
The manner in which I was approached indicated that they expected to find drugs or a weapon and when they saw me, a 67-year-old, grey-haired man, they had to find a valid reason for stopping me.
If what the officer told me about tinted windows is fact, then I believe the RCMP are doing a woefully pathetic job of enforcement. Every second vehicle has some degree of tint, some so dark as to be unable to see the driver. I liken this Motor Vehicle section to that of the bicycle helmet section; nothing other than a charge of convenience.
I have pleaded guilty to the offence, but I have done so with extreme prejudice. This is a warning to drivers, if your vehicle has any kind of a tint, then you are at risk for the same treatment as me, because as the officer put it: “Zero Tolerance”.