Tinted windows must pass muster

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 27, 2005

As of Friday, every vehicle with after-market window tintingmust be inspected or be in violation of a new state law, but thereis nowhere locally to obtain the required inspections.

The new law stipulates that any vehicle with after-market windowtinting must carry an inspection sticker from an authorizedMississippi vehicle inspection station. Tint installed at thefactory is exempt from the new law.

After-market tint includes any darkening or glazing materialadded after a vehicle is shipped to a dealership, such asstore-bought, self-installed shading material. It also includesprofessionally installed tint.

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The law will make it easier to enforce window tint regulationsby ensuring that vehicle owners comply with the proper degree ofshading or risk getting ticketed, said Staff Sgt. Rod Crawford,public affairs officer for Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop M,which oversees a nine-county area that includes Lincoln, Lawrence,Franklin and Pike counties.

The new inspection stickers will have to be renewed annually, hesaid.

The state Legislature, in passing the law, did not include agrace period in the bill. Therefore, Crawford said, “As of midnightJune 30, every vehicle with (after-market) tint will be inviolation of the law.”

Since the Legislature did not include a grace period, MHP has noauthority to offer one, he said, and troopers are authorized tobegin issuing citations immediately.

The new law places local motorists in a sticky situation,admitted Lt. Ed Nelson, a MHP spokesman. Nelson said that inconsulting with the trooper in charge of the new law’s enforcementin the local area he discovered that, at this time, no localbusinesses are participating in the new window tint inspectionprogram.

Inspection stations have to post a $5,000 bond to offer theMississippi vehicle inspection stickers. An additional $5,000 bondwill be necessary to offer the window tint inspection sticker. Inaddition, a station offering the new sticker will have to purchasethe light meter test equipment necessary to determine the amount oftint on the vehicle, Nelson said.

Most customers apply window tinting to help cool the vehicle andshield their children from the hot sun, said Tara Howell, owner ofTara’s Tint. In addition, window tint helps save a vehicle’sinterior by protecting it from the fading effects of directsunlight, she said.

Further complicating the situation, officials said, is thatvehicles that require a window tint sticker cannot receive avehicle inspection sticker unless the inspection station alsooffers the window tint sticker.

Drivers found in violation of the new law face a fine of notmore than $1,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for no morethan three months, or both.

The law can be enforced by MHP and law enforcement officers ofmunicipalities having populations of 2,000 or more on public roads,streets and highways under their jurisdiction.