New rules over tinted taxi windows

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A MORE transparent policy is planned to tackle South Tyneside taxi cabs with excessively tinted windows, it has been revealed.

The borough council is the only local authority in Tyne and Wear which does not have an agreed limit on how dark windows can be tinted.

And licensing officers are increasingly encountering applications to licence vehicles with glass that is excessively tinted – and in some cases blacked out altogether.

That is seen by Northumbria Police as a potential safety issue with many passengers being vulnerable late in the evening due to having consumed alcohol.

The policy is intended to make both passengers and drivers feel safe while travelling around the borough.

In particular, passengers need to be visible to other motorists and police officers. Members of the council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee will next week be asked to endorse a minimum 75 per cent light transmittance for front windscreens on newly licensed Hackney Carriage or private hire vehicles.

In a report to the committee, David Cramond, the council’s corporate director of economic regeneration, said officers currently have no discretion to refuse an application due to the level of tint.

He adds: “They consider that it is now necessary to consider the introduction of a policy to specify a level of tint suitable for the trade but which also meets police, licensing officers and customer concerns.

“Northumbria Police consider that persons using taxis may on occasions be vulnerable due to having consumed alcohol and therefore should be visible to other motorists and police officers.”

The borough’s Hackney Carriage association supports the move. The council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee is to meet at South Shields Town Hall from 10am on Friday.