Minister: Planned Amendments To Motor Car Act

July 3, 2015

The Ministry plans to amend the Motor Car Regulations to ensure that the enabling legislation and accompanying regulations are aligned with the current policy as it relates to window tint, and also plan to allow the use of hands free communication devices such as Bluetooth technology, Minister of Tourism Development and Transport Shawn Crockwell said in the House of Assembly today [July 3]

Minister Crockwell said, “I rise this morning to update this Honorable House on two important initiatives being introduced by the Ministry of Tourism Development and Transport.

“This includes plans to amend the Motor Car [Construction, Equipment and Use] Regulations 1952 to ensure that the enabling legislation and accompanying regulations are aligned with the current policy as it relates to window tint on public service vehicles, and by extension to private motor cars. The second item is the plan to allow the use of hands free communication devices such as the very familiar Bluetooth technology.

“The Motor Car [Construction, Equipment and Use] Regulations 1952, makes provision for the Minister in his discretion to exempt any class of motor car from complying with all or any of the requirements as it relates to window tint.

“Early last year Cabinet approved a modified Vehicle Tint Policy for public service vehicles as recommended by the Transport Control Department [TCD]; and the policy change was proposed as a result of the long standing custom and practice of the sitting Minister exercising his/her right to use discretion to approve or not approve a request for permission to allow a window tint that is very close to the legal limit.

“In particular, Ministerial discretion was previously used to allow the importation of the Toyota Alphard motor taxi [for example] with the understanding that some of its windows were fitted with manufacturer’s tint that is actually a darker tint than permitted by the regulations.

“This government is doing all it can to facilitate commerce in Bermuda and the decision to allow darker tint in Public Service Vehicles demonstrates our support for some of our front line Bermuda ambassadors our Taxi Owners and Operators. This decision has prompted this administration to embrace a greater tolerance and acceptance for slightly darker window tints on all motor cars.

Minister Crockwell continued, “The second amendment that will be forthcoming is one that will allow for motor cars to be outfitted with hands-free devices such as the very common Bluetooth technology.

“We have all seen the increase in the use of technology in our daily lives and the hands free technology has advanced to functions that traditionally required the use of ones’ hand are now executed by voice and this has proved to be very beneficial particularly in the transportation industry.

“This administration has listened to the people of Bermuda and it has been decided that the Motor Car [Construction, Equipment and Use] Regulations will also be amended to allow for qualified hands free communication devices to be utilized in motor cars.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to update this Honorable House on two important initiatives being introduced by the Ministry of Tourism Development and Transport. This includes plans to amend the Motor Car [Construction, Equipment and Use] Regulations 1952 to ensure that the enabling legislation and accompanying regulations are aligned with the current policy as it relates to window tint on public service vehicles, and by extension to private motor cars. The second item is the plan to allow the use of hands free communication devices such as the very familiar Bluetooth technology.

Mr. Speaker, the Motor Car [Construction, Equipment and Use] Regulations 1952, makes provision for the Minister in his discretion to exempt any class of motor car from complying with all or any of the requirements as it relates to window tint.

Early last year Cabinet approved a modified Vehicle Tint Policy for public service vehicles as recommended by the Transport Control Department [TCD]; and the policy change was proposed as a result of the long standing custom and practice of the sitting Minister exercising his/her right to use discretion to approve or not approve a request for permission to allow a window tint that is very close to the legal limit.

Mr. Speaker, in particular, Ministerial discretion was previously used to allow the importation of the Toyota Alphard motor taxi [for example] with the understanding that some of its windows were fitted with manufacturer’s tint that is actually a darker tint than permitted by the regulations.

Mr. Speaker, this government is doing all it can to facilitate commerce in Bermuda and the decision to allow darker tint in Public Service Vehicles demonstrates our support for some of our front line Bermuda ambassadors our Taxi Owners and Operators. This decision has prompted this administration to embrace a greater tolerance and acceptance for slightly darker window tints on all motor cars.

It is generally understood and accepted that tinted windows in vehicles provide several benefits. The tint can:

  • reduce the ultra-violet light, heat and glare from the sun
  • assist with the performance and efficiency of the air conditioning system
  • reduce the amount of fuel required to operate the vehicle thus having a knock on benefit with our carbon footprint.

Mr. Speaker, it is now our intention to adopt and implement the recommendation and include private motor cars in the proposed legislative amendments to the provisions for visual transmission for light specifications in the Motor Car [Construction, Equipment and Use] Regulations 1952.

Mr. Speaker, the second amendment that will be forthcoming is one that will allow for motor cars to be outfitted with hands-free devices such as the very common Bluetooth technology. We have all seen the increase in the use of technology in our daily lives and the hands free technology has advanced to functions that traditionally required the use of ones’ hand are now executed by voice and this has proved to be very beneficial particularly in the transportation industry.

Mr. Speaker, this administration is extremely sensitive to the impact that road traffic collisions have on this community and some of us may have been impacted directly by traffic collisions, and we are aware that the use of technology does contribute to some of these collisions. Although the empirical data is not yet there to categorically state that the use of communications devices while driving are contributing to more accidents, we do know that the majority of our accidents are the result of driver/operator inattention and in many cases a hand held communications device could have played a role.

Mr. Speaker, again this administration has listened to the people of Bermuda and it has been decided that the Motor Car [Construction, Equipment and Use] Regulations will also be amended to allow for qualified hands free communication devices to be utilized in motor cars.

Mr. Speaker, our ministry is also well aware that significant portions of the Motor Car Act are somewhat dated; these planned amendments will address two of the areas that have been cause for concern and they will move us closer to meeting the needs of the 21st century road user and our Ministry will continue with further amendments that are deemed warranted and appropriate.

Thank You

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Comments (46)

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  1. I say no to any “hand free devices” while operating a motor vehicle! This is a ludicrous Law to pass Minister Crockwell / O.B.A. Government :-(
    How is it safe to drive / ride while talking on a phone? No, I suggest you,(O.B.A.) withdraw this…

    • By the way, as for the tinted windscreens, be sure the tint is restricted; permitting the public / police to identify the driver of said vehicle/s.

      • sage says:

        Oh shut up! Tint has the benefits mentioned by the minister, there are no downsides other than blocking pokey peoples sight.

        • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

          Downside is that the police can’t see what the occupants are up to inside. But if you want to include the police in the ‘pokey people’ list, so be it.

        • Soooo says:

          This has nothing to do with pokey… The law was put in place for safety reasons… The driver in a following car needs to be able to see through the car in front… This will cause accidents!!!

          • YADON says:

            Soooo, If you are relying on seeing through another cars windscreen for visibility, YOU ARE FOLLOWING TOO CLOSE! Keep a 4sec gap and then you will be able see everything and have time to react to an incident.

            • A Sampson says:

              Keep a 4 second gap so a bike can pull in front of you and take up the space?

              • YADON says:

                Then back off again, if it happened 50 times a day you would lose about 30 secs of time

            • Soooo says:

              Who the f$&@ in Bermuda keeps a 4 second gap?

          • WTF says:

            That’s the dumbest example I have ever heard of… so I guess you can see through a truck or panel van!

    • Person who knows a little says:

      How is talking on a hands free device any different from talking to a passenger.

      • Terry says:

        Totally different.
        The person in the car is there. Dah!!
        Distraction is caused by something elsewhere.

        Your passenger farts. Cool.
        Your device farts or makes some other noise.

        Distraction.

        End of the road.

        Shalom.

        • Person who knows a little says:

          Cant tell if your being sarcastic or trolling.

          might want to leave a disclaimer its hard to tell based on typing so people don’t actually think your serious.

          on the off chance you are serious…i have no words for that…ya…nope nothing.

        • Umm says:

          Distraction is more likely to be caused by something in the car – duh.. Children, driver smoking cigarettes while driving, women doing makeup in traffic etc.

    • Long time I’ve heard from the Joker, must have been chasing Batman.

    • hmmm2 says:

      The legislation is a ‘No-brainer’. Just push it through. There’s hardly any argument against it. Most cars feature Bluetooth technology already. It’s already a world-wide standard.

      It’s about time we can get darker tint. Have you felt how hot it is outside lately?

  2. JohnBoy says:

    So you’re saying I can darken my windows??

  3. Quid pro quo says:

    Nothing better to do Ray, besides have a negative comment and run your mouth on every single news article? Find a hobby or something.

    • hmmm2 says:

      Normally he is only negative on PLP articles. Well I guess he’s pretending to be unbiased.

      Either way everyone has an opinion I guess.

  4. PBanks says:

    I don’t think I like this argument. It’s like he’s trying to placate the driving public instead of coming down hard on people who use their mobile phones while driving or riding a bike.

    Wasn’t the whole impetus behind the previous legislation to reduce audio distraction to drivers and encourage them to be more aware? Seems a bit of a reverse-course.

    • Zevon says:

      You can make or receive a call without once touching, or looking st, any phone. It is no different than conversing with the passanger next to you.

      • PBanks says:

        Fully understand your point, and it’s bound to be a great help for taxi drivers and those making deliveries, etc.

        Just don’t like the encouragement of distractions. Lord knows plenty of people here can’t have a conversation on the phone or with a passenger without veering into the other lane at the same time (add the additional comments about people drinking coffee, applying makeup and so on).

        It’s just safer overall to encourage people to pull over where safe and take the call when the vehicle is stationary. Although I’ve heard the police can book you for taking a call even if the vehicle is parked because the engine is running, so who knows.

        But it’s at least good to have these discussions.

        • J says:

          Good thing no one cares what you like.

          • PBanks says:

            Can you take your trolling back to primary school and let the adults have a reasoned discussion? Thanks.

        • Person who knows a little says:

          While i do understand your concerns. We to remember that this is not forcing people to use hands free devices, it is just giving people who do, the ability to.

          To your point of those who swerve when talking to a passenger, i chalk that up to bad drivers, who shouldn’t be on the road in the first place. I’m sorry but if you cant handle minor distraction on a normal day without losing control i cant imagine how they will react if a spontaneous situation happens that actually requires the driver to think on their feet(figuratively speaking).

          Yes, in an ideal world pulling over to the side is safer(using this word loosely) than taking a call while driving. But i cant even count the amount of times people stop short or park half way in the road to take a call, which can be just as if not more dangerous.

          Appreciate the valid question instead of just speaking nonsense.

          • Tolerate says:

            @Person who knows a little; I agree with you on the hands-free devices. I have not had tint on my car for a few years now, but can say it does keep the car cooler in the Summer.
            Today’s cars and Smart Phones are designed to allow the driver to take a call with minimal risk of distraction. In some cars its built into the cars controls, like the radio adjustment on the steering wheel. Most Smart Phones have voice activation and Car Mode that require little to no movement by the driver to accept a call.
            Now making a call by trying to dial 7 digits while driving is tricky, and unless the person is in your Contact List and you have some form of voice command; I would not suggest it. Its just as dangerous to change the radio channel or adjust your AC as it is to take a call.
            Really some people can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.
            And for people who comment that it’s not necessary to take calls; try having an ill family member, or waiting for an important client to get back to you. Nothing wrong with allowing authorized blue-tooth devices to be used; finally a step forward as the technology is out there and the thought of the current outrageous fine is ridiculous. Hell better than what most are doing today with trying to hide it causing more of a distraction to the driver.

  5. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    I’m afraid I think that allowing the use handsfree technology to allow the use of phones in cars is a huge mistake. Not that people are actually following the laws about not using cell phones when driving.

    There is absolutely no reason for anyone to need to make a call or answer a call when in control of a moving vehicle.

    If you can’t go without using your phone for at most a half hour, it’s time to do the no technology for a day challenge to realise how addicted to devises you are.

    • Person who knows a little says:

      You do realize that phones aren’t just used for leisure right. There are people that need to have constant access to their phones for business.

      Look all the people who are complaining about hands free devises need to stop. Either you have no idea of how they work or have such a one take mind that you think that since you cant drive and talk that no one else can….or live in the past.

      Technology is a very important part of modern day civilization and the use is only going to increase.

      While I agree that people should not be able hold a phone up to their head while driving, because the driver has to take hand off the steering wheel for long periods of time. But to press the button(if not voice activated) to click the little button on the side to answer the phone takes no more brain power than changing a gear or briefly looking in another direction.

      .end of rant.

      • Robert says:

        I’m a bit late to the party but I will had my two cents anyway.

        First, it needs to be pointed out that recent research has shown that talking into a phone hands free is almost as bad as holding the phone while driving (a basic Google search will point to the studies).

        For those that argue that it is essential for business. The first commercial cell phone became available in 1983. I’m almost certain that people managed to run successful buisnesses before then. Maybe just add an simple outgoing message that says you will return their call as soon as it’s safe to do so.

        • Person who knows a little says:

          Yes and society and business wasn’t any where near as technologically advanced our dependent as it is today.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        I can most certainly assure you that 99% of the people I see still endangering everyone elses safety driving while they mindlessly yack on cell phones (blatantly breaking a law that should not even had to have been enacted) are not talking business.

    • Terry says:

      Good point Rhonnie.
      Now tell that to the 3.7 million long haul drivers…everyday on the roads.

      Back at yah…..thatz ah big ten 4 good buddie……what out for smokey near junction 12……. ten four………

      Difference between driving and multie tasking by someone that you will see or meet in 15 minutes in Bermuda.

      shalom.,……AND A BIG TAN FORE…….

      • Rhonnie aka Blue Familiar says:

        Believe me, if this were a larger country, with better roads, and greater distances, I wouldn’t have a problem with hands-free devices.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      The people making or taking the short business call are not the problem.

      The people who somehow think that occupying the drivers seat also is a good time to make those random leasure calls are the problem. See thwm all the time on the roads & highways. They are the ones who are wandering from side to side in & out of their lane totally oblivious of what is going on around them. They are the ones who are toodling along slower than everyone else with a long backup of traffic behind them. They are the ones who don’t signal. Can’t hold a phone, the wheel & signal too. Not enough hands. Bermudians are bad as it is not signaling, or signaling as they make the move. You can’t expect them to talk, eat, drink & drive too.

    • Kangoocar says:

      Rhonnie, I guess you don’t have a business?? I get calls all day everyday from customers, employees and suppliers, my phone rings constantly and I need to give answers fast especially to my employees and customers!! So I and many others do need this, I take a minimum of 30 calls a day which are all business and I as well drive most of the day from job to job!! I actually would like to see if there is in fact any statistics on wether the initial ban on using cell phones while you drive actually lowered the accident rate??? Just look at how many accidents a day we have right NOW??? I would be willing to bet it did absolutely nothing to decrease accidents!! l swear law makers sometimes make these stupid laws just to make it appear they are doing something??? Also, when it comes to tint on windows lets just hope the taxi drivers now will actually put some on their taxis and then have no excuse to run their AC, I cringe everytime a see a taxi loaded with tourists and the windows are open, the tourists are obviously sweltering while in that taxi, I see it all the time and burns me up!!! this whole tint ban thing was stupid from the start, if people want to spend their money on putting what ever tint they should be allowed too?? Obviously no tint supplier/installer makes tint that you can’t see out of while you are driving???

    • frank says:

      you need to start living in the real world people close deals while driving to work everyday
      what they need to stop is people having a dam dog in the seat with them while driving

    • Rhonnie aka Blue Familiar says:

      For those who don’t think I appreciate that work is done outside the office, you really shouldn’t assume.

      I just simply don’t think that anything business or otherwise is important enough to warrant driving while on the phone, hands-free or otherwise, particularly on our narrow and winding roads.

      I also don’t really care if people disagree with my stance. We’re all entitled to our opinions.

  6. Patricia says:

    Thank you Minister Crockwell. Darker tint will surely assist in keeping my car a bit cooler and enhance the air conditioner. I cant wait for the law to pass. I’ll be one of the first in line.

    Also I agree with ‘Person who knows a little”. how is the second amendment any different from talking to a passenger in your car. Blue tooth is great.

    Thank you again Minister Crockwell.

  7. Jinky says:

    I can’t believe people can get so worked up about such trivia as the ‘shade of tint’ when everyday, I see the law broken by adults riding scooters with their children standing in front of them…….. and only this week I saw two adults and a child on the same scooter! Now this what the Government and police should really be spending their time dealing with.

  8. Micro says:

    Zero need for dark tints as 100% or nearly 100% transparent films can be used to cut down UV penetration and heating from sunlight.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      But it’s so cool .. And because it’s so very cool it’s a ‘right’ to have it , even though no-one can tell if the car driver is looking in your direction when they speed up to a junction , or exit with no apparent intention of stopping on a rainy day and you’re on a bike.

      When Mercedes and Porsche start sending all of their cars out the factory door with black windows that’s when I’ll start believing that it’s needed for some reason .

  9. On de Hill says:

    For those of you who did not listen to the Minister’s presentation or his interview on the news, the darker tint will only apply to the rear windows and windscreen. It is amazing how people speak with such confidence and they have not even done any proper research. SMH

  10. Jeremy Deacon says:

    Months after the police launched a road safety campaign, months after Crockwell announced a working group to look at road safety, we get an announcement about tints and hands-free kit. SMH! What matters more? Unbelievable, just unbelieveable

  11. KTS says:

    This is got to be a joke right? #Flip #Flop laws of Bermuda. I still recall when dark tint illegal. Someone has something to hide? Don’t want to be seen? The new in flock of residents to Bermuda require the same technology and amenities from whence they came? If your running from the sun, then Bermuda is not the place to be…trust me!

    “-Reduce the ultra-violet light, heat and glare from the sun
    -Assist with the performance and efficiency of the air conditioning
    system
    -Reduce the amount of fuel required to operate the vehicle thus
    having a knock on benefit with our carbon footprint.”

    If these benefits were so great in the first place why was the law regarding tint changed in the first place minister? Things that make you say umm! “Reduce carbon footprint” Are you truly interested in reducing carbon footprint? If you are you should start with key matters because driving period (unless with non petro fuel vehicle) air conditioning and blue tooth technologies all luxuries that add too the carbon foot print and other forms of toxicity. Hence not essentials to daily life.