I-Team: How are the state’s tinted car windows laws enforced


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Drivers tint their windows for a number of reasons, some do it for privacy, while others think it looks cool.

The 22News I-Team discovered the darker the windows, the bigger the risk.

11,000+ drivers failed inspection
Massachusetts state law determines how dark your windows can go. According to data, the 22News I-Team pulled from MassDOT, more than 11,000 drivers failed their vehicle inspection last year due to window tint.

The 22News I-Team went to Tyre Trak Automotive Center in Springfield. Owner Timothy Andrew explained that under state law, car windows must allow at least 35 percent of light to pass through.

The 22News I-Team asked Andrew how often they have to fail drivers for tinted windows:

“It’s a higher percentage than you may anticipate. Probably as high as 10 percent,” said Andrew.

Tint Meter
When you go to get your yearly inspection sticker, the business will use a “tint meter” to check the windows of your vehicle. If any window reads 34 or less, you are supposed to get rejected. 

Some drivers are breaking the law, and getting away with it. Andrew told the 22News I-Team, some inspection businesses willingly break the law by giving cars a passing sticker, despite their windows being too dark.

“The registry realizes that and wants to try and eliminate it and we hope they are successful,” said Andrew.

The 22News I-Team went to the Massachusetts State Police to find out if they will pull drivers over for excessively tinted car windows.

“It’s going to be the officer’s discretion as to whether or not they conduct a traffic stop for a violation,” said State Police Sgt. Mark Weiner of the Springfield Barracks. 

According to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, State Police issued more than 4,000 citations for window violations last year. State Police Sgt. Mark Weiner told the 22News I-Team, that amount would likely be even higher, but there’s a loophole that makes it difficult for them to enforce. State Police legally cannot stop out-of-state drivers for dark windows, which means Massachusetts’ drivers are the only ones who can be held accountable.

A business could lose its inspection license, for passing a car with windows that are too dark. Penalties for driving with excessively tinted windows include fines of up to $250 and license suspensions. 

Factory Tint
The 22News I-Team also found out that the vehicle you purchase could already have darker windows. Many SUV and truck manufacturers make the windows tinted.

“You see vehicles out there that tend to be a little darker, they just come from the factory like that.” Mr. Tint of America Owner Adam Weinberg told 22News.

State Police said many drivers make the mistake of adding to much tint to these vehicles that already came with factory tint. 

Windshields and windows obscured by nontransparent materials

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