Aug. 20, 2005 — Cars were lined up on Saturday at the Wendy's parking lot in Sunny Isles, where motorists voluntarily let police test the tint level in their vehicle's glass. For most, the news was not good. The majority of drivers whose cars were tested were told their glass was too dark.
Evita Patton was one of the few motorists who got good news. Patton, who works at the St. Mary's School in Christiansted, said a local business put the tint on her 1998 Rav 4. "This is good," Patton said of the testing. "It's better to know, than not know." Patton said she was not too sure if others in her family would be so lucky. "I told my daughter to come down and get tested," she said.
Police officers from the traffic enforcement and motor carrier division were using a device called a T-200 tint meter to test the VLT, or visible light transmittal, of vehicle glass. Starting Sept. 1, motorists in the Virgin Islands will be required by law to have tinted glass of no less than 35 percent light transmittal in their vehicles' front, side and rear glass. The law originally set the percentage at 70, but after police received the tint measuring devices, they realized that 70 percent was too strict. In June, Police Commissioner Elton Lewis asked the Legislature to amend the law to 35 percent.
The people whose vehicles failed the test took the news good-naturedly. "I have to take it off. I have two weeks," said one female motorist whose vehicle failed the test. "I bought this truck from Miami and it came with the tint on it," she said, while declining to give her name. However, as she was driving off, she asked the police officer if the tint on his personal vehicle had been removed.
"The chief checked all our personal vehicles," Officer James Charles of the traffic division said. Police personnel and civilian staff were required to comply with the law as of July 1. "We had to come into compliance first," Charles said.
Officer Charles said newer vehicles are being made with built-in tint, however, some owners add more tint to the glass, causing the light transmittal to be less than the required 35 percent. Additionally, new vehicles are made with a 6-inch "shade band" on the front windshield. Charles said no additional tint can be legally added to the front windshield.
Sgt. Kenneth Edwards brought his son's car to be checked for compliance. "He is away, so, I am bringing it in for him," Edwards said. The car failed the tint test. Edwards said he is going to "strip off " the tint and let his son "deal with it" when he gets back on island. "I'm just being a responsible parent," Edwards said.
Sgt. Charles Orange, traffic commander, said the session was "very successful." Orange said people have been very receptive, glad to have the law explained to them and to be given suggestions on what percentage of tint you need to get your vehicle into compliance.
Orange said that motorists who were not able to get to Sunny Isles to get their vehicle glass tested could do so at any police sub station around the islands. "Just go there and tell an officer you want to have your vehicle glass tested. We will be more than happy to do it."
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