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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2016 02:00 PM
From: Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: Window Tinting: Vehicle Safety Inspection and Unfair Trade Practice
I am reintroducing Senate Bill 52, legislation amending the Vehicle Code to: 1) require that window tinting be included as part of the State vehicle safety inspection process, and 2) subject businesses to the unfair trade practices law if they fail to inform a purchaser that window tinting services will cause the motor vehicle to be out of compliance with the Vehicle Code.

During the 2015-16 legislative session, SB 52 was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee with an amendment recommended by the Transportation Department. The revision added the use of a “window tint meter” when testing as part of the motor vehicle safety inspection and clarified that a vehicle shall fail inspection if the windows violate the department’s window tinting regulations.

As a general rule, light transmittance through all vehicle windows must be greater than 70%. The window tinting law is important because of the need for police officers to view the inside of cars during traffic stops. Motorists in cars with illegal tinting may be trying to conceal weapons behind the tinted glass. Ensuring that window tinting is tested as part of the motor vehicle safety inspection process will help to uncover such violations and reduce the risk to police officers.

Companies that provide window tinting sometimes tint the windows of an automobile to a level that is in violation of Pennsylvania regulation. The Bureau of Consumer Protection in the Office of Attorney General issued a consumer advisory to motorists who wish to tint their automobile windows. The advisory states: “Businesses that tint car windows may charge hundreds of dollars for their services and never tell you that your new windows do not conform to the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code. Some window tint retailers try to defraud consumers by offering illegal tint levels of 50, 20, or even 10% light transmittance levels.”

My legislation will provide protection to unsuspecting motorists. Many young drivers have their vehicles detailed without giving any consideration to whether the modifications will put their vehicle out of compliance with safety standards.

The bill I am reintroducing is nearly identical to SB 52 as amended by the committee. The only difference is that a provision is being added to exempt a non-government vehicle used by a constable for prison transport from the window tinting requirement. I was recently contacted by a constable who expressed concern with transporting a high profile individual in his personal vehicle. Allowing darker tinted windows in a constable’s vehicle would enhance the safety of both the constable and the high-profile prisoner. Current law provides an exception from the window tinting rules to any hearse, ambulance, government vehicle or any other vehicle where a valid medical exemption is granted by the department.

Introduced as SB56