Deputies ready to help with query, ‘Is my car’s window tint too dark?’

Tue, 02/13/2007 - 5:21pm
By: Letters to the ...

In June 2005 I wrote a letter to the editor concerning window tint violations. The article concerned the newly re-instated Georgia window tint law. As a captain with the Traffic Enforcement Division of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, one of the most frequently asked questions I hear is, “Are my car windows too dark?”

On the telephone the answer is always, “I don’t know, I will have to see the car.” We aren’t trying to be difficult, [but] we have to check the window with a special meter. Imagine what would happen if I told someone over the telephone that their window tint was okay only to later have them get a traffic citation for illegal window tint.

The law concerning window tint on motor vehicles in Georgia is found in the Official Code of Georgia 40-8-73.1. The law basically says that for most privately-owned passenger vehicles, the window may not be tinted to reduce light transmission to less that 32 percent (plus or minus 3 percent) or more than 20 percent light reflection.

Since Georgia Laws are usually as clear as the window tint on limousines, this law provides a host of exceptions. The law, and its exceptions, can be found on the Internet at

This is a safety issue for law enforcement officers. While not everyone I have ever stopped has become violent, that has not always been the case. Heavily tinted windows are difficult to see through in the best of conditions; at night and in bad weather it is impossible.

The tension that law enforcement officers experience while conducting traffic stops is raised significantly when they cannot see the driver and vehicle occupants as the officer approaches the car. Since there is no one vehicle used by violent offenders, law enforcement officers approach all vehicles carefully. I don’t want to be hurt doing my job and I suspect the public would not want to be hurt doing theirs either.

When I make a traffic stop, my goal is always to act in a calm and even tempered manner. When I become concerned about safety, I’m still professional but much more direct and cautious. So, the public might ask, How do I help law enforcement officers be less tense when they approach my car on a traffic stop? The answer is simple: Have legal window tint on your vehicle and at night, turn on your interior dome light once you have stopped.

In an effort to help our citizens comply with the Georgia window tint law, Sheriff Johnson allows the Traffic Enforcement Division to check the tint on private vehicles. The public can come by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office daily, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. and have their window tint checked for free.

If window tint is found to be illegal, the driver will be advised so that they can have the problem corrected. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office is located at 155 Johnson Ave., Fayetteville, Ga. Please keep in mind that this service is based on our normal call volume and it may take a few minutes for a member of the Traffic Enforcement Division to arrive.

If we encounter a motor vehicle with illegal window tint under any circumstances other than those where someone has come to us seeking to have the tint checked, the vehicle operator may receive a traffic citation. Please keep in mind that when you purchase a motor vehicle that has tinted windows at the time of purchase, you are responsible for verifying that the window tint is legal.

If the public has any questions about Georgia’s window tint law, or would like to arrange to have their window tint checked, they can call the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, Traffic Enforcement Division at 770-716-4820.

Thank you for helping me relay this information to the public.

Captain Bryan L. Woodie
Fayette County Sheriff’s Office
Traffic Enforcement Division
Fayetteville, Ga.

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Submitted by alphie on Wed, 02/13/2008 - 1:30pm.

Im all for officer safety, but why does the law allow for law enforcement vehicles to have any tent that they prefer? Whats good for the goose is not good for the gander?

I was just pulled over this morning for my window tent. Not speeding, wreckless driving or being of a menace to society type of nature. No, it was the flippin window tent on my car!

How hard is it for an officer to demand that the occupants of a vehicle roll down their windows? Why do law enforcement get preferential treatment in this statute over law abiding citizens?

This is one of the most stupid laws ever passed by the Georgia government. How many officer lives do you really think this law would save? Ill answer that, none! If the officer is up against an armed criminal, he is going to be in a fight regardless of how dark the window tent is on the vehicle and if the window tent was too dark to see clearly, he could always request the motorist to lower the windows before he approaches.

At the very least the officer could have gave me a warning and I would have to go and fix the tent on my windows. Instead he checked my windows, gave me a citation, and then drove off in his lemo tented cruiser. So wrong on so many levels.

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