22 September 2005

Window Tinting

Not only is the local police department cracking down on bad drivers, their latest target are cars with excessively tinted windows.

The traffic situation and anything to do with driving in this town is a perennially favourite subject for Dubai citizens. The newspapers are full of letters from irate drivers/cyclists/pedestrians bemoaning the lack of respect from other road inhabitants, it's a subject of discussion for parties and get-togethers and a constant source of fear for visitors used to the sedate driving style of the Western World.

One aspect unique to this climate is the tinting of windscreen and side windows. Some claim that it reduces heat inside the car when it is parked in the sun or when driving, others insist on being invisible to the public in the name of religion (Muslim women who also wear the hijab, usually, although more often young local drivers with more horsepower than sense). So there are rules: no tinting beyond 30% (except with special permission) and no mirror tint. Unfortunately window tinting is big business in Satwa and other parts of town, so the police is cracking down on the abuse, because windows that are too dark can be a danger, specially when driving at night. The penalty for excessive tinting is a fine of Dh 500 and having the vehicle impounded for at least a week.

In an attempt to minimise effort the police has decided to target the private cars of its own employees first. I guess walking round the car park is a quick way of making the monthly fine quota.

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