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It's the law

Published January 23. 2010 09:00AM

It's a mother's worst nightmare. Her daughter is a law breaker.

My daughter, Becky, came walking out of a Wawa store on Tuesday. As she prepared to get in her 2006 VW Rabbit, she noticed a Pennsylvania State Police car parked behind her. A state trooper got out of his and approached her.

"Is this your car?" he asked her.

"Yes," she replied. "Is there something wrong?"

"Yes. I can't see inside your car to see if you have a gun," he said.

Taken aback and totally clueless, Becky said the first thing that came to mind.


"You have tinted windows. Tinted windows are against the law," he told her and then proceeded to write her a citation for $109.50.

Becky was very confused. She told the trooper that she bought her used car with tinted windows in April, 2009, from a local car dealership.

"Why would a dealer sell me a car that wasn't legal? Shouldn't they know what's legal or not legal in Pennsylvania? Shouldn't the dealership be responsible? " she asked.

He shrugged his shoulder and said, "You're the owner. You're responsible. You have to have the tint removed."

Needless to say, Becky is very upset.

She thinks the dealer that sold her the car should know what's legal in Pennsylvania and what's not and wants to know why would a reputable business person sell something that wasn't legal?

She is looking into that. She contends that it is virtually impossible for the everyday automobile owner to know what are all the state laws.

Which got me curious. So, I turned to the good old Internet to see what the law is on tinting.

According to Title 75 of PA Statutes-4524(e)(1), tint is permitted. As long as it meets PA Inspection Regulations and conforms to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard FMVSS No. 205.

Tinted windows are allowed which have approximately 25 30 percent transmittance or greater.

Unlike other states, which explicitly state a percentage in their law, Pennsylvania does not. Therefore it is necessary to make a 'reasonable' estimate.

Based on common sense and the Law in other states, it appears that tint with a transmittance much below 25-30 percent may not permit a person to view the interior and would therefore be illegal under current PA Law. Therefore the term "Legal Tint" when used in this site, refers to tint with transmittance above approximately 25 30 percent, that conforms with all applicable PA Statutes, Regulations, and FMVSSs.

Being law abiding, when she knows the laws, Becky's next step is to take it somewhere to determine if it falls in that 25-30 percent transmittance and then take it from there.

All of this got me curious about all the laws that are out there that we know nothing about.

Again, I turned to the Internet.

Here are some goodies that evidently are still on the Pennsylvania law books.

It is contrary to Pennsylvania law to discharge a gun, cannon, revolver or other explosive weapon at a wedding. (Gives a new meaning to the phrase "Shotgun wedding, huh?)

Ministers are forbidden from performing marriages when either the bride or groom is drunk. (Which may account for why there is the law just above.)

It is illegal to sleep on top of a refrigerator outdoors. (Because... if Harry gets up in the middle of the night looking for orange juice and he slams the door shut I'll fall off and kill myself and he'd be guilty of murder?)

You may not sing in the bathtub. (Okay. Maybe some people should be arrested for that one.)

Any motorist who sights a team of horses coming toward him must pull well off the road, cover his car with a blanket or canvas that blends with the countryside, and let the horses pass. (Well duh, that's just a given.)

You may not catch a fish with your hands.

You may not catch a fish by any body part except the mouth. (And only if you're wearing a bear costume.)

In Danville, all fire hydrants must be checked one hour before all fires. (Guess they hire a psychic for that job.)

Any motorist driving along a country road at night must stop every mile and send up a rocket signal, wait 10 minutes for the road to be cleared of livestock, and continue. (How many of us have rockets in our cars?)

Fireworks stores may not sell fireworks to Pennsylvania residents. (Well then how am I going to get the rockets I need to send up a signal when the livestock are in the middle of the road?)

A special cleaning ordinance bans housewives from hiding dirt and dust under a rug in a dwelling. (Lock me up, Dan-O.)

That's just a few.

Law enforcement says that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

But as you can see, there are laws out there that we just don't have a clue about. Unless we are lawyers, how would we know? I could be breaking hundreds of laws a day without ever knowing it.

Don't get me wrong. I have the greatest respect for our law enforcement people. But sometimes a warning, when there is ignorance of little-known laws, to an otherwise law-abiding citizen, would be better served than a costly citation.

Just my opinion.

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