97,000 cases booked, police say they are enforcing ban on government and VVIP vehicles too

Since May this year, when the Chennai City Traffic Police (CCTP) launched a crackdown on motorists who use dark film on the windshields and windows of their cars, over 97,000 cases have been booked and over Rs. 1 crore collected in fine amounts, up until August 4.

The number of cases booked is close to the number in New Delhi, which has fined nearly 1.2 lakh cars.

Early this year, the Supreme Court banned the use of dark film on cars, as it restricts visibility. All states were asked to enforce the ban. From the first week of May, the CCTP began fining cars that used the film. “The fine amount is not much compared to that levied from motorists who flout the helmet rule. The crackdown will continue and we are enforcing it on government vehicles too,” said a senior traffic police officer.

During the initial days of the crackdown, the police began a drive on 30 roads in the city including Anna Salai and booked 3,292 motorists for using dark film. A sum of Rs. 100 was collected from each offender as per the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.

The Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, say that glass on windscreens and rear windows of vehicles should have a visual light transmission of 70 per cent, while for side windows it should be at least 50 per cent. “The crackdown is being done on vehicles used by VVIPs too. The main concern was crimes conducted in cars with such dark film on their windows,” said a senior police officer.

Besides, traffic police also feel dark film makes it difficult for drivers to see vehicles through their rear view mirrors.

“It is also impossible for the police to see who is inside the vehicle if such dark screens are stuck on the front, rear and side windows of the car. We created necessary awareness before starting the crackdown. We did not do it without first making motorists aware of the rule,” said the officer.

However motorists still seem confused about the permissible amount of visibility. “In a city like Chennai it is impossible to drive without some protection from the sun. Tourists especially, prefer some shade. I had purchased semi-dark film a few days before the crackdown began. But once the police began their drive, I had to tear it up, ” said S. Alimudeen, a car driver near Chennai Central Railway Station.

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