Question: Why are so many cars allowed to have such dark tinting on the windows?
It’s a safety hazard for other drivers because you can’t see through cars to see oncoming or directional traffic. Also, cops can’t see in there to see anything either.
I think it’s because they’re trying to cheat on the diamond lanes. But why are cops not giving tickets out for this and making it a priority? I would think that in today’s violent world, policemen would want to be able to see into the car.
If I were a policeman and had to approach a car like that, I would not just have my hand on my gun. I would have it out of the holster and ready to shoot.
- Jimi Sanchez, Tacoma
Answer: Washington is one of the least restrictive states in the country with regard to window tinting. Our law (RCW 46.37.430) states you can tint any of your windows –except the windshield – dark enough to filter out 76 percent of visible light.
Compared to other states, Washington is the second-most lenient on front-side windows, surpassed only by New Mexico, where you can filter out 80 percent of visible light on all windows except the windshield.
California allows tints that reduce light by just 30 percent on front side windows, but allows total black-outs on rear-side and back windows.
You’re right about police officers not liking tinted windows.
“For officers, tinted windows are a safety hazard,” Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said. “That’s why, on a traffic stop at night, citizens will see all the available lighting on the police car is used to illuminate the interior of the car before they approach.
“During the day, the tinting is much harder to see through,” she said, “so citizens may see a car stop being conducted by more than one officer.”
Officers have portable tools to measure light passing through glass.
“If the officer thinks it obscures your vision, we can impound the vehicle for safety reasons,” Cool said. “Normally, we check it against the measurement tool and write a $124 ticket for glazed/tinted windows.”