Drivers modifying vehicles in the west of the county hoping to avoid being caught on camera have been stopped in their tracks by a device which helps identify illegally tinted windows.
Officers have been using the device, as part of enforcement action aimed at reducing collisions caused by poor visibility.
The law states that front windshields should let in 75% of the light, and front side windows no less than 70%. This reduces the risk of collisions caused by poor visibility and ensures that road users driving illegally aren’t able to hide from speed cameras.
The device projects a light through the car window to a receiver, which detects the opacity of the glass as a percentage. The device is checked and recalibrated regularly to ensure it provides an accurate reading each time.
In addition to day-to-day use, the devices have been used in operations tackling anti-social driving. During December 2023, patrols checking the roadworthiness of vehicles in the Larkfield area used the device to identify seven vehicles with illegal tints, which resulted in the drivers receiving traffic offence reports and potential fines.
Officers have the power to stop and check vehicles solely for tint-related matters if they are driving a vehicle on a road or public place and suspected of the traffic offence.
PC Rob Barrett, of the Maidstone Local Policing Team, said:
‘This device has previously only been available to our Roads Policing Unit but is now being trialled by local officers who are called out to road traffic incidents where modified windscreens may have been a factor.
‘We have been educating motorists during roadside checks and are also engaging with groups of car enthusiasts so that they are aware of the requirements in this area.
‘Poor vision is a major cause of fatalities on Kent’s roads so we hope to use this new technology to help push Kent closer to Vision Zero. This initiative aims for zero fatalities on Kent’s roads each year by 2050.’