Saudi Arabia has issued a law prohibiting the tinting of glass on buses. And of course it’s created a controversy. Police state that it’s a matter of safety — drivers need to be able to see out of their windows. This Saudi Gazette article doesn’t state it, but there’s also a security concern — police need to be able to see who’s in a vehicle.

Militating against the ban are school teachers — primarily female — who believe that tinting offers them privacy from the too-eager eyes of males in other vehicles or on the sidewalks.

The bus companies are not pleased by the SR300 (US ~$100) fines they receive for each bus stopped by the police.

The clashes between competing social values are always among the most interesting to watch.

Drivers denounce ban on tinted bus windows
Saudi Gazette report

TAIF – Several companies that run buses for both schoolchildren and female teachers are in a crunch after the recent decision by the Traffic Department to ban tinted windows in school buses has forced many teachers to take alternative means of transportation and as a result lowered their profits, a local newspaper reported.

Speaking from Taif, driver Hamdan Al-Khudaidi accused traffic police of unnecessarily targeting drivers by repeatedly pulling them over and slapping them with fines for tinting bus windows.

“There has been a noticeable increase in inspections of buses carrying female teachers at checkpoints on both the Taif-Riyadh and the Southern roads which in turn causes teachers to be late for classes. Then there are repeated fines for tinting windows. This has forced many teachers to resort to alternative means of transportation,” he said, while adding that tinted windows protect teachers from the sun and provide them with privacy as they travel long distances to their schools.

In the US, each state has its own laws regarding the tinting of vehicle windows. These can range from none (as in Washington, DC) to quite dark. The security and privacy concerns in the US, though, are not quite the same as in Saudi Arabia.


January:18:2013 - 08:46 | Comments & Trackbacks (5) | Permalink
5 Responses to “Through Glass… Darkly”
  1. 1
    Jerry M Said:
    January:18:2013 - 11:06 

    It is odd for a country so obsessed with personal privacy to ban tinting where it makes so much sense.

  2. 2
    John Burgess Said:
    January:18:2013 - 14:28 

    @Jerry M: I think it’s the security concerns that override the privacy concerns. There are just too many would-be jihadis running around the Kingdom. To stop them, there are checkpoints all over the place. Heavily-tinted glass defeats their purpose.

  3. 3
    Michel Said:
    January:19:2013 - 12:22 

    That reminds me of the first time I drove around the Diplomatic Area in Islamabad; the police stopped me and asked me to remove my tinted glasses…. for safety reasons.

  4. 4
    G Jeff Said:
    January:20:2013 - 10:22 

    John, I know this wasn’t the topic, but I’m curious what makes you think that there are that many would be Jihadi’s running around. I’m not necessarily disagreeing, I’ve seen and heard both versions, just curious what you think.

  5. 5
    John Burgess Said:
    January:20:2013 - 18:20 

    @G Jeff: Because the Saudi media keeps reporting their arrests. Sometimes they’re trying to sneak in across a border; sometimes they’re disguised as women. Sometimes they’re caught mid-plot. The government keeps warning against extremism, recruiters, and offering tales of woe from those they’ve captured. And then there are the trials of those that’ve been caught.

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