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Darkened Windows are Illegal

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Darkened Windows are Illegal

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
March 24, 2008

Tinted Windows

Most drivers in Illinois (and in many other states) know that it is illegal to have heavily-tinted, darkened glass in the windows of the driver's door and of the front-seat passenger's door. The reasons are obvious - for the safety of a police officer who approaches the vehicle during a traffic stop. (Frankly, I've always wondered why the rear window and the glass in rear doors can be tinted. A carload of hoodlums could easily have shooters in the back seat, and a cop would never see them.)

What is amazing is the number of vehicles on the road with darkened front, side windows! Have you noticed how many?

Check out this Infiniti 4-door sedan observed in Woodstock tonight. Not only were the front windows tinted, but there was no front license plate. The rear plate was there, though; it was Illinois 545 0006.

To illustrate the power of the auto dealers' lobby in Illinois, it is not illegal to sell a car with illegally-darkened front windows. It's just illegal to drive one. This exemption should be removed from the Illinois Vehicle Code, allowing enforcement to start right where it belongs - before the car ever hits the streets.

The Illinois State Police will ticket drivers with darkened windows and no front license plate. Visibility of the driver and front-plate identification are important for PhotoRadar enforcement in highway work zones and for tollbooth enforcement on the Tollway.

Why don't local police support the State Police with rigid enforcement efforts? My personal experience is that speeders and tailgaters often fail (refuse) to display front license plates, have darkened front windows and use tinted license plate covers to obscure license plate numbers.

Write the tickets and publicize the efforts. Use the "safety" enforcement units to tickets these drivers, too; not just those who don't wear seatbelts.

The last time most drivers looked at the Illinois Rules of the Road was when they were 16 and on the way to get their driver's license for the first time. Maybe drivers should have to take a written test every five years as a review of the rules of the road.

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