Claim: In Ghana, tinted car windows are illegal and one can be imprisoned for a year for that, a Whatsapp user claims.
Mostly False. According to the Head of Research Education and Training at the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Alexander Obeng, tinting of the front windscreen is illegal but tinting windows is permitted only when the transparency is 30%. Offenders face a fine of not less than twenty-five and not more than fifty penalty units, or a term of imprisonment of not fewer than fifty days and not more than three months.
A WhatsApp user, claims tinted windows are illegal in Ghana and one can serve up to a year in prison for such an offence.
The claim came up in a group Whatsapp chat as a result of discussions on the rampant road accidents Ghana is facing at the moment.
According to the Whatsapp user,
“You guys erh you should know that if we want to stop road accidents, I think cars with tinted windows must not be allowed on our roads. Even, it is illegal to have tinted windows. One can serve up to one year in prison for having tinted windows.”
The claim has been forwarded several times. Dubawa set out to find out the viability of the claim.
Two claims needed to be fact-checked. The first being that tinted car windows are illegal and that a person can be imprisoned for up to a year if found culpable.
Are tinted car windows illegal?
First, we surfed through the Road Traffic Regulations Act 2012 to find if there is any law backing the claim.
It revealed that section 67 sub-regulation 3 and 4 of the Act captioned Materials for Windscreen, Window,s, and Partitions contains what the law says about tinted vehicles.
It states that, it is unlawful to have a tinted front windscreen that diminishes the visibility of the one driving and that one can be only allowed to use a tinted screen when there is at least 70% light transmittance to allow the inhabitants to see and be seen.
“A person shall not drive a motor vehicle with a tinted front windscreen… A person may drive a motor vehicle which has glass other than the windscreen and front glass tinted with light transmittance of at least seventy percent to allow the occupants to see and be seen, if;
- The film or tinting material applied to the windscreen or window has a textured surface or is a fixture or an attachment but does not reduce the visibility of the person driving the motor.
- The film or material applied to the windscreen or window has a textured surface or is a fixture or an attachment but does not reduce the visibility of the person driving the motor vehicle in any direction.”
To seek more clarity on this, Dubawa spoke to the Head of Research Education and Training at the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Alexander Obeng.
According to him, tinting the front windscreen is illegal, nonetheless tinting the side windscreen is permissible but its transparency should be 30%. This, according to him, is to enable them to see drivers from a distance away.
“Nobody is saying you shouldn’t tint; you can tint the side windows but it must be 30% transparent. This is according to the discretion of the police. Because we should be able to see you as to whether you are adhering to the driving regulations which include you not being on phone and wearing your seatbelt while driving. With the front windscreen, we have noticed some are tinting. We are advising them to remove it because tinting the front window is illegal. The only thing that should be on the front glass is the roadworthy sticker and insurance sticker”.
Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Accra Regional Police Command, Inspector Bright Kwabena Danso, also indicated that driving a vehicle with tinted glasses is illegal even though it has been seen as a symbol of status and lifestyle, while others see it as a security measure or for privacy.
“Vehicle owners must know that there are strict laws around its application. To some people, tinted windscreens do have aesthetic value, and can serve as some level of safety, but they must remember the implications and the law,” he told Daily Graphic in a 2019 interview.
What is the penalty when you go against the law?
The Head of Research Education and Training at the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Alexander Obeng dismissed claims that a person could serve a year in prison for the offence.
According to Obeng,
“…the law is already there. Our job is to enforce it. So, the law says when you are found culpable you can be convicted to a fine in penalty units where one penalty unit is GH₵12.00. So assuming you are convicted with 2,000 penalty units you just have to multiply GH₵12.00 by the penalty units assigned to you. Also, you can serve a term of imprisonment of not less than 30days. So, reject claims that it is one year”.
Subregulation 6 of regulation 67 of the Road Traffic Regulations Act 2012 also states that “ a person who contravenes this regulation commits an offense is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than twenty-five and not more than fifty penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not less than fifty days and not more than three months or both”.
From the evidence above it is clear that the claim that tinted car windows are illegal and that one can be imprisoned for up to a year if found culpable is misleading.
This report was produced under the Dubawa Student Fact-checking Project aimed at offering students in tertiary schools aspiring to take up roles in the profession the opportunity to acquire real-world experience through verification and fact-checking.