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To pimp or not to pimp?

March 22, 2017 by in category News with 0 and 1
Home > News > News > To pimp or not to pimp?
to pimp or not to pimp

I remember when I passed my driving test aged 17 how unbelievably excited I was about my having the independence that comes with being able to drive. I was lucky enough to have a car to share with my sister and I was so proud of my cute little mini metro. Nowadays, most young drivers wouldn’t be seen dead in what I was proudly driving around in but the vanity that goes with having a “pimped up ride” can result in a new driver’s licence being revoked if you’re not careful!

There are lots of ways in which you can modify your car. Some are legal. Some are not. Most offences relating to the vehicle modification are punishable by fine only but there are some offences for which you could receive penalty points which, as a new driver you would want to avoid as otherwise you may have to re-sit your test all over again…and a pimped car looks far less cool with “L” plates on it!

Car window tinting law

For any car first used after 1 April 1985, the amount of light transmitted through the front windscreen must be at least 75%. The front side windows must transmit at least 70%. There is, however, no restriction as to the level of tinting that can be applied to rear passenger windows or the rear windscreen.

The reason for these restrictions is that window tints restrict your ability to see the more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, especially in low light conditions. Visibility problems tend to be particularly bad around dawn and dusk or the sudden onset of bad weather when light levels change quickly.

The police and vehicle examiners from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency use light measuring equipment to measure window tints. If you drive a vehicle with heavily tinted front windows you may be subject to enforcement action. This could be a prohibition notice, stopping you from using your vehicle on the road until you have paid to have the extra window tint removed. If you are stopped by the police you may also get a penalty notice or a court summons and could face a fine.

If you have an accident with overly-tinted windows it is possible that you could be charged with dangerous driving as you were driving a vehicle which was in a dangerous state. Also, your insurance may potentially be invalidated in these circumstances, although this will vary from policy to policy. It is also an offence to sell a vehicle with overly-tinted windows. The police or trading standards could prosecute you for doing so.

In car TV or DVD player

Vehicle regulations prohibit the driving of a car if the driver is in a position to see, directly or by reflection, a television receiving apparatus, DVD player or similar.  or other cinematographic apparatus. This means that it is OK to have a DVD player installed in the back of a front seat so the passengers in the rear of the car can see it, but the driver must not be able to see it. Satellite navigation systems are, however, explicitly excluded from this prohibition. You may face a fine if you are found to be in breach of this law.

Restrictions on noise

Although having a souped-up sound system is not itself an offence, you must not use a car on a road in such a manner as to cause any excessive noise. Curiously enough, there does not appear to be any restriction as to what you can do on your own drive, as that counts as private land. This applies to all parts of the vehicle, even the exhaust. There are regulations that mean that all exhaust systems must be fitted with a silencer.

In addition to these restrictions, there are specific regulations as to what noise a car horn can make and when they can be made. A horn should not be used at all between 11:30pm and 7:00am in any event in built up areas. The noise which a horn makes must be continuous and uniform and not strident (i.e. not harsh or grating). In particular, it cannot be a “two-tone horn”, meaning an instrument which, when operated, automatically produces a sound which alternates at regular intervals between two fixed notes, such as an ambulance’s nee-naw noise.

Custom number plates

Basically, any modification to a number plate is illegal. There are specific rules about the font, size and spacing. A non-reflective border and the Euro-symbol with the national identification letters are optional additions. There must not be any other markings or material contained on the number plate. This is because of automated number plate recognition technology in speed cameras and also some police cameras for car identification purposes.

The DVLA normally give you a number of warnings before they revoke your use of the plate, although they may revoke it and you may be fined without any warning. Your number plate is supposed to be checked during your MoT test, although ignorance of the law is no defence.

Oh, and any reflective covers or coatings to try and avoid getting flashed by speed cameras are also illegal.

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