SACKVILLE, N.B. – RCMP are stepping up their enforcement on two traffic offences that are causing concern in the local area.
Const. John Depow of the Sackville RCMP said tinted windows and covered license plates on vehicles have become fairly prevalent, both locally and across the province, despite being offences under the New Brunswick Motor Vehicle Act.
He said he’s been lenient over the past few months on these violations, trying to educate motorists on this issue, by either giving warnings or voiding tickets when motorists have shown proof they’ve removed the tint from their windows or their covers from their license plates. But he plans to soon start ticketing drivers for these infractions.
In relation to tinted windows, the Motor Vehicle Act states: “No person shall operate on a highway a motor vehicle on which the front windshield or the side windows to the right or the left of the driver, have been treated, coated or covered with a colour spray or other coloured material or any opaque or reflective material in such a manner as to obstruct the driver’s clear view of the highway or any intersecting highway.”
Plastic plate covers, as well as the license plate frames that go around the edge of the plate, are also illegal, as they can obscure the letters and numbers on a plate. License plates are supposed to be clearly visible and in a condition to be clearly legible to a person on the highway in front or in rear of the vehicle.
Depow said if something were to happen, such as a hit and run, where someone is injured or killed, a possible witness or witnesses may not be able to get the plate number of the involved vehicle because it was obscured and not clearly legible. Or if someone in a vehicle was attempting to abduct a child, for instance, and the plate wasn’t legible, it would make it much more difficult to find them.
Tinted windows are a problem for a similar reasons, in that it impedes witnesses from identifying the driver of the vehicle who may have committed the same sort of offences, which can make it difficult or impossible to lay a charge, said Depow.
He also pointed out that it’s a problem for police officers when they can not see into the vehicles because it prevents them from seeing if a driver is wearing their seatbelt, using a cellphone, or if any of the occupants may have some kind of weapon in their possession.
Depow said most vehicles now come with factory tint on them that is close to or right at the legal limit, so any material that is put on afterwards will put them over the legal limit - so it is recommended not to add any material to the front or side windows.