Drivers face fines and seeing their cars impounded - but they still want tints
Keeping cool, looking cool and privacy for women were three reasons given by drivers when asked about their window tints, some of which were above the legal limit of 30 per cent. Some seemed oblivious to the law, while those who were aware of acceptable tinting levels appeared unconcerned about the possibility of fines or seeing their beloved car impounded, saying they had never been stopped by police.
Walid al Naqbi, 19, a student from Abu Dhabi, has a 50 per cent tint on the windows of his red Dodge Charger, fitted for two reasons, he said: to absorb the heat and because it looks good. "I have never had any problems with the police about my windows. I honestly don't think there is much difference between the 30 per cent and 50 per cent. I can see perfectly fine through 50 per cent windows." Ahmed Abdullah al Ameri, 34, who works at the Central Bank, was waiting in a queue to put petrol in his Porsche Cayenne.
He said that police had twice impounded his car and fined him Dh10,000 but he would continue to use an illegal tint because 30 per cent "hardly gives you any protection". "I only have it during the summer. In the winter I will remove it," he claimed. A communications executive from London, who asked not to be named, said police had twice caught her driving her BMW X5 using windows that were darker than the legal limit.
"I used to have 80 per cent tint on my windows for two years without any problems. When I got caught in March, my car had a 50 per cent tint on the side windows and the front windscreen was clear. "The first time I got a Dh500 fine and the second time they impounded my car for 30 days. To be honest, I found it was fine seeing through 50 per cent windows. There wasn't any kind of a safety thing. "I decided to do it because in Dubai, as a woman driver, you get hassled by so many guys. I want privacy when I am driving down the street."
Ibrahim al Marzooqi, 19, a student at Khalifa University, has a 50 per cent tint fitted on his BMW 1 Series hatchback. While the back window was already tinted when he bought it from the dealership, he had the other windows tinted, saying it made the car "look nicer". He said he had never been stopped by the police. On his Porsche Cayeene, Hassan Zaabi said he had around a 60 per cent tint on the windows, which he would remove when the weather got cooler.
"The weather is too hot," said Mr Zaabi, who is in his mid-30s and works at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs. "Police have stopped me two to three times. I have been given two fines. Once I have kids, I might keep the tint permanently." Both Noemi al Dhaheri, a 46-year-old housewife, and Hoor al Shehhi, 23, a graduate, say their illegal tints have not been picked up by police. Miss al Shehhi said the 40 per cent tints on her Audi SUV were for protection from the sun.
Another young woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the 50 per cent tint on her black Lexus was "nowhere near close enough" to what she wanted. She wanted protection from both the heat and unwanted attention from men. "The police have never stopped me. The dim lights on the interior allows the tint not to appear as if it is more than 30 per cent. When police see a female driver, they shouldn't stop us. Women are veiled in our culture but we can't drive properly with a veil on, so a tint allows us to have our privacy while driving."
Updated: October 10, 2009 04:00 AM