Re: "Washington a lenient state when it comes to tinted car windows" (Traffic Q&A, 4-20).
I asked these very same questions about overly tinted windows, and the RCW that makes them illegal, to the Lakewood police hierarchy just a few months after the officer shootings in 2009. I was told it wasn't worth their time to stop every vehicle with windows too dark to see the interior of the vehicle.
But on Feb. 9, 2011, a man in Lakewood was shot and killed by Lakewood police. A News Tribune article quoted a Lakewood police officer as saying that officers couldn't see into the car because of the window tint. A tactical team with a shield first approached Johnson's car and could see him moving inside. One of the officers fired three shots inside the vehicle.
I still see a lot of cars with overly tinted windows in Lakewood and elsewhere.
The RCW also states that the business that applies the tinting has to place an identifying sticker on the vehicle. Unlike businesses that cannot violate emission controls on a car, window tinters are allowed to violate the legal standards. The vehicle owner is responsible.