Dear Mahatma: Do any law enforcers enforce the law on overly tinted windows? I see them all the time. Seems like a hazard, especially to police. -- Untinted
Dear Un: We found one brain cell lurking in our front cortex, on which was imprinted a memory of many years ago. It was of a news release from the Arkansas State Police, in which the commander at the time said each trooper would have a device with which to measure the depth of a window's tint so as to discern its conformity with the law.
Naturally, we went to Bill Sadler, the eminent spokesman for the agency, about this very matter.
He said troopers assigned to the Highway Patrol Division have ready access to certified tint meters. If a trooper doesn't have a working meter, one is as close as a radio call.
Sadler then kindly provided a copy of the law, which he said would enhance our understanding.
We had previously read this law, Arkansas Code Annotated 27-37-306, having fielded such questions before. But it's been a while.
Let's review. Briefly, because this is pretty much incomprehensible to the average brain, and even more so to a brain such as ours in steep decline.
Turns out after-market tinting is lawful only if it has a strip of tinting material applied to the top of the windshield, an eyebrow, not more than 5 inches deep. We figure this is so drivers can see where they're going.
And ..."side windows and side wings located on the immediate right or left of the driver or to the right or left immediately behind the driver may be covered with an after-market tinting material which results in at least twenty-five percent (25%) net light transmission, except that the side windows immediately behind the driver on any truck, bus, trailer, motor home, or multiple purpose passenger vehicle may be covered with an after-market tinting material which results in at least ten percent (10%) net light transmission ..."
And ... "the rearmost window may be covered with an after-market tinting material which results in at least ten percent (10%) net light transmission."
Wait! There's more! There are medical waivers, and a requirement that tint installers add a label that identifies them. If they overdo the tint, they may be subject to conviction for a Class B misdemeanor.
Now to the matter of whether or not police issue citations. We know they do because earlier this year we wrote a couple of columns about drag racing. Looking over numerous arrest reports we saw citations for too-tinted windows.
We then asked Scott Hardin of the Department of Finance and Administration to give us a number of citations statewide. No can do, he said.
For this offense, there is no ACD code. That is, a national set of codes that identify motor vehicle violations. The code is established by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.