I was driving south on 196th Street on a very sunny September day in Langley, and I saw an unmarked RCMP SUV type vehicle with two uniformed officers travelling towards me.
Moments later, I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw the same vehicle put its emergency lights on and do a U-turn in a construction zone.
There was heavy traffic and the road marking indicated a double solid line. My first thought was, â€œThere must be a real emergency.â€
I carried on and then turned right at the stop sign at 60th Avenue and 196th Street.
Again, I glanced in my rear view mirror, and saw the SUV weaving in and out of traffic, and I was very surprised when the vehicle pulled in behind me.
After several minutes, an officer from the passenger side of the SUV approached my passenger door.
â€œWhy did you stop me?â€ I asked.
â€œIâ€™ll tell you later,â€ he growled, and then took my license and registration.
He returned a short time later and said, â€œHereâ€™s a ticket for tinted windows.â€
I questioned him about the tint, which was on the truck when I bought it a number of years ago.
â€œThere is a zero tolerance of any tint from the driver seat forward,â€ he said.
I was quite surprised. How can this be true, when more than half the vehicles on the road have some sort of tint? So I think he was being less than truthful with me.
My GMC Sonoma was a custom order from GM in 1999, and I purchased the vehicle second hand in 2002. The original owner gave me the custom order that states the vehicle was ordered with tinted windows at an additional cost of $160.
If the RCMP take this as a serious offence, why not simply tell all auto glass shops to discontinue the practice, and disallow the sale of vehicles with any form of tinted windows?
The effort to which these officers went to pull me over tells me that there was a reason other than tinted windows. I believe they officers saw a nicely detailed black pickup truck and made an assumption that I was a young person, and possibly a gang member.
The manner in which I was approached indicated they expected to find drugs or a weapon, and when they saw me, a 67-year-old grey-haired man, they had to find a valid reason for stopping me.
If what the officer told me about tinted windows is fact, then I believe the RCMP are doing a woefully pathetic job of enforcement.
Every other vehicle has some degree of tint, some so dark as to be unable to see the driver.
I liken this Motor Vehicle Act section to that of the bicycle helmet section: nothing other than a charge of convenience. The officer will issue a ticket when it is convenient.
I have pled guilty to the offence, but I have done so with extreme prejudice. This is a warning to drivers, if your vehicle has any kind of a tint, then you are at risk for the same treatment, because as the officer put it: â€œzero tolerance.â€
Tony Fuller, Langley