Ask a trooper: Window tint compromises officer safetyE-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your question to Duluth News Tribune, Attn: Ask the State Trooper, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. You may remain anonymous. Read past columns at duluthnewstribune.com.
Q: Please can you tell me why window tint is such a big deal? Nearly everyone in my family has been stopped and either warned or given a ticket because of this. The big kicker is every car that has been stopped was factory installed. If this is illegal, then the state of Minnesota should ticket the car dealerships that are allowed to sell these cars with illegal tint. My 80-year-old mother-in-law has darker window tint than anyone, but has never been stopped, so what makes the State Patrol stop a particular car to even check? Thank you for explaining this; this subject has come up numerous times between co-workers and friends that this has also happened to. Only state troopers have stopped everyone I have talked to, not county or city officers, and we have been in town not on the interstates. So is this just a state trooper issue? To remove this tint costs a fortune. You cannot remove it in Minnesota in the winter because it’s so cold and you can’t get it off, it ruins your windows. Thank you.
A: The big deal is officer safety, pure and simple, and yes, it is a big deal. If everyone in your family has been stopped for this except for your mother-in-law, that indicates to me that your family is not getting the message, so I am glad you asked about it. When we see a dark window, we can stop and check it. We have a policy that dictates on when a ticket or a warning should be issued. Nearly all state troopers have window tint meters and are trained to stop and check them and take the appropriate action. I can’t and won’t speak for other agencies on their policies or equipment. Dealers are not allowed to sell vehicles with improper or illegal window tint, and we do charge them for it when we catch them. It’s not winter any more so you shouldn’t have any trouble removing the tint now. Many people remove the tint themselves, and even in the winter, but how you do it and how much it costs is of no significance to the reason for the law, which is again, officer safety. You can do your mother-in-law a favor by telling her to remove her tint now (if it’s not legal) and avoid a fine. Since you did not ask about what the tint law is, I won’t go into that at all, but anyone considering adding tint should probably first see what the law says so they can avoid the problem that you have been having.
Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.