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Petition Information
Petition Title Amend Provisions of Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Rules and Regulations Relating to Sunshading Materials
Date Filed 12/15/2008   
Petitioner Mr. Patrick McTague 
Petitioner's Request

By authority of the Code of Virginia section § 2.2-4007, I am petitioning the Department of State Police action to repeal its regulations relating to the inspection of sunshading material. As stated in section § 46.2-1052 of the Code of Virginia "Except as otherwise provided in this article or permitted by federal law, it shall be unlawful for any person to operate any motor vehicle on a highway with any sign, poster, colored or tinted film, sun-shading material, or other colored material on the windshield, front or rear side windows, or rear windows of such motor vehicle. This provision, however, shall not apply to any certificate or other paper required by law or permitted by the Superintendent to be placed on a motor vehicle's windshield or window."

You current regulations permit for unlawful vehicles to pass safety inspections, thus permitting unsafe vehicles to travel on Virginia's roads. These regulations are also in violation of the minimum Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and in violation of the U.S. Code. Your regulations must comply with both of these documents in order to have jurisdiction on State and Federal funded highways. Although your department may enforce illegal tint with its Troopers, this alone is not a suitable policy as governed by higher powers. In essence, you are providing the motorist with a document proclaiming their vehicle legal for use on the highway's and yet at the same time claim these vehicles are illegal for use. The motorist has reasonable expectation that their vehicle is lawful and therefore cannot be prosecuted for inspection requirements which you do not require. Below you will find relevant law which, under your current regulations, makes your Department unlawful. I propose that the inspection of window requirements be reinstated into your inspection program immediately.


"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a legislative mandate under Title 49 of the United States Code, Chapter 301, Motor Vehicle Safety, to issue Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and Regulations to which manufacturers of motor vehicle and equipment items must conform and certify compliance. New standards and amendments to existing standards are published in the Federal Register.

These Federal safety standards are regulations written in terms of minimum safety performance requirements for motor vehicles or items of motor vehicle equipment. These requirements are specified in such a manner "that the public is protected against unreasonable risk of crashes occurring as a result of the design, construction, or performance of motor vehicles and is also protected against unreasonable risk of death or injury in the event crashes do occur."

FMVSS Standard No. 205: Glazing Materials
Scope and Purpose:
This standard specifies requirements for glazing materials for use in motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment. The purpose of this standard is to reduce injuries resulting from impact to glazing surfaces, to ensure a necessary degree of transparency in motor vehicle windows for driver visibility and to minimize the possibility of occupants being thrown through the vehicle windows in collisions.

 US code Title 23, Chapter 402 states :

"(a) Each State shall have a highway safety program approved by the Secretary, designed to reduce traffic accidents and deaths, injuries, and property damage resulting therefrom. Such programs shall be in accordance with uniform guidelines promulgated by the Secretary. Such uniform guidelines shall be expressed in terms of performance criteria. In addition, such uniform guidelines shall include programs

(b) Administration of State Programs.— (1) Administrative requirements.— The Secretary may not approve a State highway safety program under this section which does not—

(B) authorize political subdivisions of the State to carry out local highway safety programs within their jurisdictions as a part of the State highway safety program if such local highway safety programs are approved by the Governor and are in accordance with the minimum standards established by the Secretary under this section; "

 
Agency's Plan

The Department of State Police shall submit notice of the petition to the Registrar for publication in the Virginia Register.  The notice will be available for a 21-day comment period by the public.  After the close of the 21-day comment period, the agency will issue a written decision as to whether it will grant or deny the petition.  During the 21-day period the Department shall also attempt to calculate the economic impact on Virginia's businesses amd inspection stations required to implement the proposed changes.

 
Comment Period Ended 1/21/2009
1 comments
Agency Decision Take no action    
Response Date 3/3/2009
Agency Decision Summary

 

On December 15, 2008, Mr. Patrick McTague petitioned the Virginia Department of State Police to repeal its regulations relating to the inspection of sun shading materials which are set forth in 19VAC30-70-210 set forth below. In his petition he cites the statutory provision, § 46.2-1052 of the Code of Virginia, which was enacted by the General Assembly, and prohibits and fixes punishment for those who operate a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth with impermissible levels of tint on specified vehicle windows. In the petition Mr. McTeaque asserts that Virginia is not in compliance with the minimum standards set forth in FMVSS Standard No. 205.
The petition was properly posted and opened to a comment period prior to this Agency considered any action. The comments, economic impact on small business (inspection stations), and the safety concerns addressed were all considered by the Department in making its decision. Three comments were received, one on the Virginia Town Hall website and two by facsimile to the Department. Of the three one was in favor of taking regulatory action to add window tint as a pass fail item for state inspection, two were opposed to doing the same.
The impact on Virginia inspection stations, many of which are small businesses, would be extensive. Each station would be required to purchase a sufficient number of tint meters to ensure that they could conduct the inspection if a meter became damaged or was found to be out of calibration. An initial search for such meters found that a basic model would cost between $74 and $245 per unit. The stations would be required to provide training and supervision of the personnel conducting the test, would be required to evaluate and consider medical documentation relating to exceptions to the rule under § 46.2-1053, and would be not be compensated for the additional equipment, training, and time required to conduct each inspection as the inspection fee is fixed by Act of the general Assembly.
Safety of the traveling public would not be greatly enhanced by including such a measure in the inspection process. Out of state vehicles are not subject to the Virginia inspection process and would continue to travel in or through Virginia with the tint on the windows. In addition tint is often an aftermarket addition to a vehicle which could be added the day after the inspection and the driver would still be in violation of the law. The provisions of § 46.2-1052 properly address the issue of dark tint and places the public on notice.
The guidance found in FMVSS No. 205, is properly addressed in 19VAC30-70-210 in that the glazing and any tint or coating must not obscure the drivers view. Tint that is fogged, peeling, or otherwise obscures the drivers view would result in a failure to pass inspection under current regulations. Overly dark tint that otherwise does not obstruct the drivers view is primarily an issue of officer not operator safety. Overly dark tint may allow safe operation of the vehicle but still pose a risk to officers approaching the vehicle and not being able to identify the number of persons therein.
For the reasons stated above the Virginia Department of State Police has considered the petition for rulemaking and has determined that no change is required or justified.
 
19VAC30-70-210. Glass and glazing.
A. Motor vehicles may be inspected without windshields, side glasses, or any kind of glazing, except that any motor vehicle other than a motorcycle that was manufactured, assembled, or reconstructed after July 1, 1970, must be equipped with a windshield. If glass or other glazing is installed, it must be inspected. If no windshield is installed, see 19VAC30-70-50 C for location of the sticker.
B. Inspect for and reject if:
1. Any motor vehicle manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1936, or any bus, taxicab or school bus manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1935, is not equipped throughout with safety glass, or other safety glazing material. (This requirement includes slide-in campers used on pickups or trucks, caps, or covers used on pickup trucks, motor homes, and vans.)
2. Any safety glass or glazing used in a motor vehicle is not of an approved type and properly identified (DOT and AS-1, AS-2, or AS-3). (Replacement safety glass installed in any part of a vehicle other than the windshield need not bear a trademark or name, provided the glass consists of two or more sheets of glass separated by a glazing material, and provided the glass is cut from a piece of approved safety glass, and provided the edge of the glass can be observed.)
NOTE: A number of 1998 and 1999 model year Ford Contour/Mystique, Econoline and Ranger vehicles were produced without the AS-1 windshield marking as required by FMVSS #205. Ford has certified that these vehicles' windshields meet all performance standards and will not be rejected.
3. Any glass at any location where glass is used is cracked or broken so that it is likely to cut or injure a person in the vehicle.
4. Windshield has any cloudiness more than three inches above the bottom, one inch inward from the outer borders, one inch down from the top, or one inch inward from the center strip. The bottom of the windshield shall be defined as the point where the top of the dash contacts the windshield.
5. Any distortion or obstruction that interferes with a driver's vision; any alteration that has been made to a vehicle that obstructs the driver's clear view through the windshield. This may include but is not limited to large objects hanging from the inside mirror, CB radios or tachometers on the dash, hood scoops and other ornamentation on or in front of the hood that is not transparent.
a. Any hood scoop installed on any motor vehicle manufactured for the year 1990 or earlier model year cannot exceed 2-1/4 inches high at its highest point measured from the junction of the dashboard and the windshield.
b. Any hood scoop installed on any motor vehicle manufactured for the 1991 or subsequent model year cannot exceed 1-1/8 inches high at its highest point measured from the junction of the dashboard and the windshield.
6. Windshield glass, on the driver's side, has any scratch more than 1/4 inch in width and six inches long within the area covered by the windshield wiper blade, excluding the three inches above the bottom of the windshield. A windshield wiper that remains parked within the driver's side windshield wiper area shall be rejected.
EXCEPTION: Do not reject safety grooves designed to clean wiper blades if the grooves do not extend upward from the bottom of the windshield more than six inches at the highest point.
7. There is a pit, chip, or star crack larger than 1-1/2 inches in diameter at any location in the windshield above the three-inch line at the bottom.
8. At any location in the windshield above the three-inch line at the bottom (as measured from the junction of the dash board and the windshield) there is more than one crack from the same point if at least one of the cracks is more than 1-1/2 inches in length. There is any crack that weakens the windshield so that one piece may be moved in relation to the other. (If there is more than one crack running from a star crack that extends above the three-inch line, the windshield shall be rejected.)
EXCEPTION: Windshield repair is a viable option to windshield replacement. A windshield that has been repaired will pass inspection unless:
a. It is likely to cut or injure a person.
b. There is any distortion that interferes with a driver's vision.
c. The windshield remains weakened so that one piece may be moved in relation to the other.
d. The integrity of the windshield has obviously been compromised by the damage or the repair.
9. Any sticker is on the windshield other than an official one required by law or permitted by the Superintendent. Authorization is hereby granted for stickers measuring not more than 2-1/2 inches in width and four inches in length to be placed in the blind spot behind the rear view mirror. Department of Defense decals measuring no more than three inches in width and eight inches in length may be affixed to the upper edge of the center of the windshield. At the option of the motor vehicle's owner, the decal may be affixed at the lower left corner of the windshield so that the inside or left edge of the sticker or decal is within one inch of the extreme left edge of the windshield when looking through the windshield from inside the vehicle. When placed at this location, the bottom edge of the sticker or decal must be affixed within three inches of the bottom of the windshield. This location can only be used if the owner of the vehicle has chosen not to place any required county, town or city decal there. The normal location for any required county, town, or city decal is adjacent to the official inspection sticker and must not extend upward more than three inches from the bottom of the windshield. Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) inspection decals may be placed at the bottom or sides of the windshield provided such decals do not extend more than 4-1/2 inches from the bottom of the windshield and are located outside the area swept by the windshield wipers and outside the driver's sight line.
Any sticker required by the laws of any other state or the District of Columbia and displayed upon the windshield of a vehicle submitted for inspection in this state is permitted by the Superintendent, provided the vehicle is currently registered in that jurisdiction and the sticker is displayed in a manner designated by the issuing authority and has not expired. This includes vehicles with dual registration; i.e., Virginia and the District of Columbia.
NOTE: Fastoll Transponder devices may be affixed to the inside center of the windshield at the roof line just above the rear view mirror. If space does not allow, then it may be affixed to the immediate right of the mirror at the roof line.
NOTE: Volvo placed a warning sticker on the windshield of their cars equipped with side impact air bags. In accordance with this paragraph the sticker shall be removed. If the sticker can be removed intact then it may be placed on the left rear window in the lower front corner. Customers should be referred to the nearest Safety Division area office for replacement if it could not be removed intact.
EXCEPTION: Stickers or decals used by counties, cities and towns in lieu of license plates may be placed on the windshield without further authority. Except on privately owned yellow school buses, the sticker or decal shall be placed on the windshield adjacent to the right side of the official inspection sticker or the optional placement to the extreme lower left side of the windshield. The top edge of the sticker or decal shall not extend upward more than three inches from the bottom of the windshield. The left side edge adjacent to the official inspection sticker shall not be more than 1/4 inch from the right edge of the official inspection sticker when looking through the windshield from inside the vehicle. At the option of the motor vehicle owner, the sticker or decal may be affixed at the lower left corner of the windshield so that the inside or left edge of the sticker or decal is within one inch of the extreme left edge of the windshield when looking through the windshield from inside the vehicle. When placed at this location, the bottom edge of the sticker or decal must be affixed within three inches of the bottom of the windshield. Any expired sticker or decal, excluding a rejection sticker that is present on the windshield at the time of inspection, shall not be issued an approval sticker unless the owner/operator "authorizes" its removal. A rejection sticker will be issued versus an involuntary removal. On privately owned yellow school buses, the sticker or decal shall be placed on the windshield adjacent to the left side of the official inspection sticker, and not more than 1/4 inch from the left edge of the official inspection sticker when looking through the windshield from inside the vehicle. The top edge of the sticker shall not extend upward more than three inches from the bottom of the windshield.
10. Sunshading material attached to the windshield extends more than three inches downward from the top of the windshield, unless authorized by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and indicated on the vehicle registration.
NOTE: Sunshading material on windshield displaying words, lettering, numbers or pictures that does not extend below the AS-1 line is permitted.
NOTE: Vehicles with logos made into the glass at the factory that meet federal standards will pass state inspection.
11. Any sunscreening material is scratched, distorted, wrinkled or obscures or distorts clear vision through the glazing.
12. Front side windows have cloudiness above three inches from the bottom of the glass or other defects that affect the driver's vision or one or more cracks which permit one part of the glass to be moved in relation to another part. Wind silencers, breezes or other ventilator adaptors are not made of clear transparent material.
EXCEPTION: Colored or tinted ventvisors that do not exceed more than two inches from the forward door post into the driver's viewing area are permitted.
13. Glass in the left front door cannot be raised or lowered easily so a hand signal can be given. (This does not apply to vehicles that were not designed and/or manufactured for the left front glass to be lowered, provided the vehicle is equipped with approved turn signals.) If either front door has the glass removed and material inserted in place of the glass that could obstruct the driver's vision.
EXCEPTION: Sunscreening material is permissible if the vehicle is equipped with a mirror on each side.
14. Any sticker or other obstruction is on either front side window, rear side windows, or rear windows. (The price label, fuel economy label and the buyer's guide required by federal statute and regulations to be affixed to new/used vehicles by the manufacturer shall normally be affixed to one of the rear side windows.) If a vehicle only has two door windows, the labels may be affixed to one of these windows. If a vehicle does not have any door or side windows the labels may be temporarily affixed to the right side of the windshield until the vehicle is sold to the first purchaser.
NOTE: A single sticker no larger than 20 square inches in area, if such sticker is totally contained within the lower five inches of the glass in the rear window or a single sticker or decal no larger than 10 square inches located in an area not more than three inches above the bottom and not more than eight inches from the rearmost edge of either front side window, is permissible and should not be rejected.
A single sticker issued by the Department of Transportation to identify a physically challenged driver, no larger than two inches X two inches, located not more than one inch to the rear of the front door post, or one inch to the rear of the front ventilator glass, if equipped with a ventilator glass, and no higher than one inch from the bottom of the window opening, is permitted on the front driver's side window on a vehicle specially equipped for the physically challenged.
15. Rear window is clouded or distorted so that the driver does not have a view 200 feet to the rear.
EXCEPTIONS: The following are permissible if the vehicle is equipped with a mirror on each side:
a. There is attached to one rear window of such motor vehicle one optically grooved clear plastic right angle rear view lens, not exceeding 18 inches in diameter in the case of a circular lens or not exceeding 11 inches by 14 inches in the case of a rectangular lens, which enables the operator of the motor vehicle to view below the line of sight as viewed through the rear window.
b. There is affixed to the rear side windows, rear window or windows of such motor vehicle any sticker or stickers, regardless of size.
c. There is affixed to the rear side windows, rear window or windows of such motor vehicle a single layer of sunshading material.
d. Rear side windows, rear window or windows is clouded or distorted.
Statutory Authority
§ 46.2-1165 of the Code of Virginia.
Historical Notes
Derived from VR545-01-07 § 21, eff. May 1, 1990; amended, Virginia Register Volume 10, Issue 8, eff. February 9, 1994; Volume 21, Issue 4, eff. September 22, 2004; Volume 21, Issue 18, eff. April 15, 2005; Volume 24, Issue 8, eff. March 1, 2008.