Friday, 2 May 2008 9:53 AM

Cruising in Style and Darkness

Cruising in darkness is how most public observers describe the current trend of tinting vehicles to the darkest possible shade on windscreens and windows.

Keeping away the heat of the sun is one common excuse given when asked why the need for heavy tints.

In some parts of the world, tinted vehicles are only on private vehicles for personnel of higher ranks, but this is not the case for the Solomons.

Solomon Times was informed that this was the current 'in-thing' for vehicle owners in Honiara, particularly for taxis.

One taxi driver approached said that the country's climate is very hot and having heavy tints helps to keep off the heat.

"We are on the road the whole day and having tints makes cruising more comfortable without the intense heat of the sun, and there is nothing sinister behind it," he told Solomon Times.

He said that one possible reason for a lot of public critics is because "married people take advantage of the dark tints for cruising when they should be at home with their family".

"We are only doing our job in offering public transportation," he said.

This is however not acceptable as an excuse by the public who call for some rules against tinted vehicles.

Described by most concerned citizens as "sitting in darkness", they are calling on responsible authorities to do something about it.

Female passengers claim fear when stepping into a heavily tinted taxi, most stating that anything can happen once inside the vehicle.

Moves are slowly taking place as one insurance company in Honiara made a public statement that it will reject insurance claims on tinted vehicles.

The insurance company reasoned that the practice of tinting restricts the vision of the driver to such an extent that accidents would be inevitable.

National Traffic Centre superintendent Albert Samani said that while there's no legislation in the country to stop vehicle owners from tinting their vehicles, there are laws stopping owners from tinting the front windscreen.

Mr. Samani said that police only allows tints that cover only 10 per cent of the windscreen from the top.