Businesses Can Be Affected by Auto Tint Laws

July 18th, 2018 by Emmariah Holcomb

Businesses across the country can be affected by auto tint laws, but the first step is understanding them. Last month the International Window Film Association (IWFA) hosted a webinar explaining the differences between different types of laws and how they impact the industry.

Darrell Smith, IWFA executive director, began the webinar by going over the current federal laws on window tinting. The current federal law states 70 percent of light must be transmitted through all glass used in vehicle windows. But after years of states battling window tint laws on both a federal and state level there are still lingering safety concerns.

Smith spoke about window film use enforcement based on those who oppose window tinting. The current new issues cited with decreasing the visibility on vehicle windows are:

  • A lack of driver eye-to-eye communication;
  • Lack of driver-side pedestrian and cyclist visibility;
  • Pedestrians not being able to see driver’s eyes to understand intentions; and
  • How law enforcement will handle potential increases in distracted driving.

Smith said each of these central concerns could be disputed.

“There’s no evidence to support the potential lack of driver eye to eye communication,” he said. In regards to pedestrians or cyclists being unable to know and understand a driver’s intention even if his/her eyes could be seen, Smith said the likeliness would be low. This concern is due to cyclists who should be looking for driver turn signals and/or coming to a complete stop before continuing through a stop sign. This coupled with drivers becoming more aware of new bike lanes being added to the right side at intersections. Smith thinks if these steps are followed there would not be an increased danger-but in any case, it will not be from the use of window films. When asked how law enforcement is expected to handle a potential rise in distracted driving, Smith mentioned various forms of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). “There’s more distractions with new high tech video screens and extended menus on vehicles than ever before,” Smith said. “Drivers have to spend more time looking at their video screens to figure out various options and commands in newer vehicles.  In those that have ADAS windshields, the driver’s eyes stay focused forward in the general driving direction rather than downwards or sideways toward a video screen; however, the automotive industry remains reluctant to make ADAS the standard in all vehicles, even though it may enhance the safety performance of a driver” he added.

Before a new auto tint law goes into effect there a few common characteristics it should have, along with two questions that should have affirmative answers. Each law should:

  • Be clearly understood by the industry, the public and law enforcement;
  • Be able to be inspected easily if that state has required inspection procedures;
  • Be able to be verified and enforced by patrol officers on highways; and
  • Be able to hold up in court.

“If any aren’t met, the law will constantly be under scrutiny and subject to change,” Smith said.

Finding out about proposed bills and new laws can be overwhelming, especially if a person is searching on both the state side and federal side. Fortunately, there is a program that compiles that information and makes it easy to understand. The Fiscal Note® software program:

  • Tracks both regulations and legislation;
  • Tracks both state and federal levels;
  • Tracks from the introduction (even in subcommittees);
  • Lists proponents and opponents; and
  • Puts a probability of passage at each level.

“This tool helps us prioritize where to spend our efforts,” Smith said.

This article is from Focus on Film, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the latest news regarding window film and related products, including paint protection film. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Window Film magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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