Vehicle manufacturers using ever-darker privacy glass in the rear windows of new cars has caused Sheffield City Council to reconsider its policy on tinted windows in taxis and private hire vehicles.
Under the council’s current taxi licensing policy, vehicles must have a minimum of 75 per cent light density in the front windscreen, and 70 per cent light density in the remaining windows.
This is to ensure the safety of lone passengers in the back seats, as well as the protection of the driver - as both can be clearly seen by passers-by.
Self-applied tints are also banned under council regulations.
But a report to the council’s licensing committee from chief licensing officer Steven Lonnia states that with newer cars, rear windows are typically darker - only allowing 65 per cent light density through.
The report asks the council to consider the impact of this shift and explore options including forcing drivers to replace windows at their own expense, or installing CCTV in vehicles as an alternative.
The report stares: “Sheffield City Council’s primary purpose in prohibiting heavily tinted glass is to protect the safety of both the driver and lone passengers by enabling both to be seen by those passing by.
“As vehicles are being updated by manufacturers, window tints that are outside the scope of our policy (darker) are fast becoming ‘as standard’ on vehicles.The cost of replacement glass, if available, is expensive.
“Members may wish to consider the use of CCTV in its licensed vehicles where licencees wish to have heavier tinted factory fitted glass. Costs would be burdened on the licensee, and cost effectiveness of such a decision would lay on the applicant.”
In making any decision, councillors must take into account protecting the public, safeguarding children and the vulnerable, and preventing crime, disorder and public nuisance, the report states.
It will be considered at a meeting of Sheffield City Council’s licensing committee on Thursday, July 26 at Sheffield Town Hall.