Amnesty for checks on tinted windows for US servicemen in Suffolk

Tinted windows have been cited as a possible factor in the deaths of American service personnel killed on the roads in Suffolk.

As a result, the Ministry of Defence Police has launched a month-long amnesty for airmen and their families stationed at the US airbases in Suffolk.

Running until March 9, the MoD Police will be performing free checks on tinted windows, which are often applied to American cars because of the usually brighter weather across the Atlantic.

However, while those tinted windows are legal in the US they are often illegal in the UK.

'The concern is because there have been several fatalities recently in Suffolk, which are believed to have been caused partly because of tinted windows,' said Pc Paul Glover, who serves with the MoD Police at RAF Mildenhall.

'Motorcyclists have been hit by cars with heavily-tinted windows, and it's this that is believed to have heavily contributed to the accidents.

'Most happened at dusk or after, when it is very hard to see. With tinted windows, you can't see dark shapes, because they result in poorer vision,' he said.

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'All newcomers are briefed of the rules on this at the newcomers' briefings, so they should be aware of it,' Pc Glover said.

He said a general Suffolk amnesty was held three months ago. However, many base personnel were unaware of it so failed to get their screens checked

As a result, the new amnesty is being held for service personnel at RAF Lakenheath, Mildenhall and Feltwell.

UK vehicles can have no more than 25% tint to the front windscreen and the driver and passenger windows.

In the US, the legal limit is 30%.

'We realise that the legal limit in the States is 30%, so we allow that,' Pc Glover said. 'But anything over that is illegal and must be removed immediately.'

'All vehicles straight from factories are within legal limits. However, when buyers have additional tinting added before or after purchase, that usually takes it straight over the legal limit.'

Anybody stopped after the 30-day amnesty will either have to immediately remove the tint while the police are present, or they will be given an on-the-spot fine.

If the tint cannot be immediately removed, a prohibition will be put on the vehicle, which means it cannot be driven until the tint is removed.

Checks will be carried out from 10.30 until noon at the parking lot by the MoD Police and 100th Security Forces Squadron buildings at RAF Mildenhall, and from 12.30pm until 2pm outside the 48th Security Forces Squadron headquarters building at RAF Lakenheath.