Apr
02
2009

Doctors may want you to wear more sunscreen, but state lawmakers in Texas may soon order your car window to use a little less.

The change would limit the level of tint allowed on car windows. Current laws only regulate the front driver and passenger windows, and require roughly 25 percent of visible light to pass through. The new rules would cover every window except the windshield and back hatch, and mandate a minimum of 35 percent transparency.

“It’s a safety issue,” said State Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman. “It’s for law enforcement and other citizens. When we’re driving down the road, we communicate with each other even though we’re not looking at each other. When you’re too dark, you lose communication between drivers.”
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Chris Weinhardt, a marketing director at ENPRO Distributing, says the proposed rules would quickly frustrate drivers. ENPRO sells and installs window film to help drivers avoid glare and cool a car’s interior.

“Your car is going to be a whole lot uncomfortable,” said Weinhardt, who sells window film for cars and trucks. “By raising the legal limit on the window film, in essence you’d be creating a visible nightmare by all the glare coming in. You’d have to go in and put new window film on your car or you’d be in violation of the new law.”

The plan has already passed the state Senate by a unanimous vote and is now working its way through a House committee. If approved, it would take effect September first.

Most new vehicles sold in Texas come with window film that complies more stringent standards already in place in other states, which would likely be permissible under the changes proposed in the Texas legislature.

The bill would not apply to limousines, taxis, some commercial vehicles and police cars.

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