We’ve done stories in the past about unnecessary laws encumbering our businesses - from unjustified noise ordinances in Florida, to banning car alarm sirens in New York City. But the latest enforcement on window film from New York State was snuck in this year. As part of the vehicle inspection, service stations now must go out and purchase a light meter to measure the amount of light coming through the windows. And it is really tough: The front windshield and side windows on both sides of any eligible vehicle operating in New York State must allow at least 70 percent of any light to pass through. A typical vehicle from the factory is around 78 percent, so pretty much any window film short of the clear ‘UV Only’ style will not pass muster. Additionally, the law doesn’t even allow for any color-darkening film on ‘normal’ cars - meaning anything but an SUV that had the rear windows tinted from the factory. The law states the rear side windows of any station wagon, sedan, hardtop, coupe, hatchback or convertible must also allow 70 percent of any light to pass through. Service stations are on our side; they do not want to take the extra time necessary to test windows and purchase a calibrated meter from the Department of Motor Vehicles
Is anyone allowed to have dark tint in New York? Why yes…I’m glad you asked. Only those with three relatively obscure diseases to sunlight: Porphyria (one in 50,000 people), Xeroderma Pigmentosum (one in 250,000 people), or a severe drug photo-sensitivity. So, in essence, a minuscule sliver of the population.
We will feel bad for irate New York customers who had window tint installed in late 2016 and must remove the film in 2017. Retailers did not know the law was going to pass (or even its status on the docket). We spoke with Charles Bonfiglio, the CEO of Tint World, who happens to have two franchises in New York. Being an optimist, he is looking at the opportunities of the law. “Although some customers are just looking for the dark look of window tint, once people have lived with a good window film product, they start to see the other benefits, such as heat rejection, UV protection and protecting the interior against the effects of fading, and skin cancer protection. Unfortunately, the powers that be in New York are against our right to privacy in the car.”