Police In Dark About New Windshield Law

BOSTON -- A new state law bans heavily tinted automobile windshields in Massachusetts, but law enforcement officials can't enforce it, because they lack necessary measuring devices.

The law, which makes it illegal to have care windows that block more than 65 percent of the outside light, was designed to protect police officers who must peer into shaded windows, to help identify hit-and-run drivers and to allow eye contact between drivers at intersections.

It went into effect more than a month ago.

But police departments and the Registry of Motor Vehicles haven't been provided with measuring devices to check for compliance, according to a report published yesterday in The Boston Globe. And police officers say they aren't sure whether the law applies to cars that were equipped with tinted windows before its Jan. 1 effective date.

"In its present form, the law is confusing, unworkable and unrealistic," said Rep Thomas White (D-Worcester). House chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Safety. "Now we have to rectify all that has gone wrong."


An amendment that would have fine-runed the law died in the Legislation late last year during the speakership fight, but new hearings are planned within the month that could eventually lead to revisions.

One group that will be seeking to modify the law is the Massachusetts Limousine Association, said President John Kararan of Water-town who mot recently with white to discuss the issue.

"We as limousine provides, have a special problem because part of what we sell is privates to individuals such as corporate heads or celebrities. The rear portion of limousines are custom tined for that purpose," he said.

"I think the Law is necessary, but I don't think it's fair to us, and I'd like to see some kind of compromise.