Legislators must tinker with recently changed window tinting law

2009-12-20T00:00:00Z Legislators must tinker with recently changed window tinting lawBy RON INGRAM - H&R Staff Writer Herald-Review.com
December 20, 2009 12:00 am  • 

DECATUR - Drivers who want more tinting on their vehicles' windows are able to get it under a law revised by the Illinois General Assembly in October.

But the wording in part of the law is confusing and will require a legislative fix when the House and Senate return to Springfield in January.

The problem would have been solved under Gov. Pat Quinn's amendatory veto to House Bill 3325. But legislators apparently did not like the governor meddling in what they consider their prerogatives and overrode his amendatory language and restored the bill to its flawed condition.

Illinois State Police Sgt. Brian Copple said demonstrations of the proposed new tint levels were conducted for the state police and legislators. He said the state police took a neutral stance on HB 3325.

The big problem with the changed law is found in paragraph three, which addresses multipurpose vehicles, Copple said. The Illinois Vehicle Code defines those vehicles as being built on a truck chassis, he said.

"If you had a minivan, you could not tint its windows under that section or a sport utility vehicle on a car frame would not quality," Copple said. "But a crossover vehicle with rear tinting could have the side windows done."

State Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion, who voted to override the amendatory veto, said the bill's sponsor, state Rep. Suzanne Bassi, R-Palatine, did not want the bill to die after she had gotten the American Cancer Society and other major players to back the measure.

"There appeared to be no major opposition to the original bill," Flider said. "Everyone appeared to be on board."

Allowing additional tinting on the front passenger and driver's side roll down windows could be a boon to his business, said Robert "Bob" Stewart, manager of Audio Express, 1761 E. Eldorado St. The shop offers window tinting among its services. Previously, tinting those windows was prohibited.

Tints are referred to in percentages of light transmittance. For example, a 50 percent tint allows at least 50 percent of light to come through a window. The higher the percentage, the more light is allowed through.

"With the change, if we put 35 percent on the rear window, we can do either 35 percent or 50 percent on the front side windows," Stewart said. "If we put 20 percent on the rear window, we're not allowed to put anything on the front windows. If a vehicle has factory-applied tint in the rear, it can only have 50 percent on the front windows."

Stewart said most factory-applied tint is 20 percent, quite darkening.

The advantages of tinted windows are that all window tint shields passengers from 99 percent of ultraviolet radiation, Stewart said. Tints are especially helpful for people with medical conditions affecting skin or the eyes, he said.

Another advantage is tinting increases the tensile strength of window glass to at least 2,000 pounds per square inch, which can help keep windows from shattering during accidents, Stewart said.

The change in the law is not yet widely known. Neither Macon County Sheriff Thomas Schneider nor Decatur Deputy Police Chief James Chervinko, who oversees the police department's patrol division, were aware of it when asked recently. Both said they will be looking at the change and making sure officers in their departments are aware of it.

hrnews@herald-review.com

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