Usually, discussions on the topic of vehicle windows are centred on the level of visble light transparency (VLT) and the issue of permissible levels of window tint.

Currently, the new rules specify minimum permissible VLT levels of 70% for the front windscreen, 50% for the front side windows and 30% for all other windows (rear side windows and rear screen) – this replaced the 70% VLT for the windscreen and 50% VLT for all other windows under the old ruling.

However, there are also other items pertaining to what can and cannot be used on automotive glass windows other than fixed film tints, which may motorists may not be aware of. For example, it is prohibited to use of any kind of curtain or decorative stickers on vehicle windows.

The law is not new – it is indeed contained in the Motor Vehicle Rules (Prohibition on Certain Types of Glass) 1991, according to Datuk Haji Mohamad Dalib, JPJ’s automotive engineering department director. “The rules are very clear, any installation of blinds or curtains, or even decorative stickers placed on the windows of a vehicle is strictly prohibited,” he said.

“Installation of curtains is only permitted for express buses and also for tour buses. However, those who wish to do so need to apply in advance and obtain approval from us. For private vehicles, it is not permissible,” he added.

Touching on why the use of permanent curtains was not allowed, Mohamad explained it was the same as the use of excessively dark window tint. Besides further altering VLT levels, it may pose a safety concern by hindering the driver’s vision, and visibility into the vehicle from outside should be clear and unobstructed.

What about the use of removable blinds, curtains or other material? According to the department, the rules apply to these types too – such use is prohibited under the provisions of existing law. If there is a complaint from the public or a vehicle is stopped during roadblock operations, further action is subject to the discretion of the officer in charge.

If found guilty, an errant motorist can be fined no more than RM1,000 and/or be subject to imprisonment not exceeding one month. The short of it is that any use of blinds, curtains or sun shades – in any form – isn’t legal.

The last was actually a recent query posed by a reader, who asked for clarity regarding the legality of installing car window shades. Some years back, a news report had indicated that motorists were allowed to use sun shades or place towels on car windows to block out the sun.

The department had at that point explained that this was allowed because sun shades and towels were not permanent items and could be removed when needed, while stickers and curtains were permanent fixtures that could interfere with a driver’s view.

It looks as if that may have changed. What do you think? Should non-permanent, removable sun shades or material be allowed for use on vehicles to enhance occupant comfort, especially in cars that might not have window tint film applied? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.