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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Dark side to window tints
Police testing car windows
Tinted windows can be a costly mistake, say police
Once, tinted car windows were the preserve of movie stars and diplomats.

With specialist firms now selling film to stick over normal glass, it is no longer just top of the range vehicles that are sporting the look.

But police in Northern Ireland are warning that the limousine look has a dark side.

Some tints let in as little as 10% of available light and fashion conscious motorists are posing a danger on the roads, police say.

They are now using a special meter which gives a reading of visibility through tinted windows.

They are hoping that drivers will realise the problem and see the error of their ways.

Constable Gordon McEvoy from the PSNI's road policing section said MoT standards required 70% light visibility. With window tints, readings can fall too far short of this, he said.

"Whenever drivers are coming out of junctions, it reduces their visibility and they find it very difficult to see," he explained.

"We have examples where motorists have actually had to turn the window down to see if there are any oncoming vehicles," he explained.

"This makes it very, very dangerous for cyclists and motorcyclists who are maybe coming along the road and the drivers don't actually see them."

Constable McEvoy said a woman had told him that her son had been at a set of traffic lights on a scooter.

A driver came up behind, did not see the traffic lights or the scooter and knocked the rider off.

Drivers can pay just over 100 to have their car windows tinted.

But police are warning that this can prove an expensive mistake.

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