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N.H. lawmakers propose bills to repeal ban on front-window tinting

Last modified: 12/1/2015 12:31:22 AM
Jamal Dayek receives five or six calls a day from customers asking him to tint all the windows in their car.

Some want the feature to help block sunlight and harmful UV rays from touching their skin while they drive. Others want the film added to their windows as a safety measure, to help prevent glass breakage in an accident.

But Dayek, who owns Sunview Glass Tinting in Derry, has to turn them down.

While New Hampshire law allows drivers to tint the rear windows of their motor vehicles, the state statute bars tinting in the front.

“People are very, very surprised” to hear that, Dayek said. “Although I own a tint shop, I don’t tint my front window because I don’t want the headache of getting pulled over.”

Next year the state’s tinting laws could change as several lawmakers propose bills this session to repeal the front window ban.

Rep. Daniel Tamburello, a Londonderry Republican, filed legislation that would allow people to tint their front windows after paying an annual $10 registration fee. Rep. David Borden, a New Castle Democrat, is proposing a bill to repeal the prohibition on aftermarket tinted glass in motor vehicles.

“Most states allow some degree of front window tinting,” said Tamburello, who had tinted car windows when he lived in Florida. “I like it.”

But not everyone is on board with window tint, a film applied to the inside of car windows that is meant to block certain levels of light.

For safety reasons, members of law enforcement have opposed efforts in the past to allow front window tinting. They say tinted windows can make it more difficult for officers to see inside a vehicle and increase risk during traffic stops. Col. Robert Quinn, director of New Hampshire State Police, declined to comment on the specific legislation being proposed this session, saying he wants to read the complete bills first.

New Hampshire state law allows drivers to tint the rear windows of a vehicle, but only to a certain extent. Tint is measured by the percentage of light that can pass through the film, and state law only allows tinting that transmits 35 percent of light or more. With that level of tinting, a person can be seen through the window, Dayek said.

People with medical conditions, including lupus, melanoma or sun allergies, can get a waiver from the state to tint their front windows, so long as the film transmits 35 percent of light. The waiver is good for two years, and must be renewed through an application process that requires a physician’s signature.

Dayek says some of his customers who qualify for a waiver, either because they have skin cancer or another medical need, decide against applying because of the hassle.

“You get pulled over all the time and have to show this permit,” he said. “They don’t want the aggravation, and so they just don’t do it.”

Tamburello is hoping legislation allowing front window tinting passes in New Hampshire this year with the help of a user registration fee he is proposing. Under his bill, the money raised would be routed to the Department of Safety.

“I figured the only people who would be opposed to (the bill) may be the state police,” Tamburello said. “So I said, ‘Why not let them have the money?’ ”

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at amorris@cmonitor.com.)


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