On Jan. 1, one of New York State’s newest policies went into effect, and it could impact you the next time you get your vehicle inspected. It’s all part of an effort to help law enforcement be able to better see fellow drivers.

New York’s original window tint law hasn’t changed. That law says windows must allow at least 70 percent of light through the window. However, drivers used to be simply ticketed by police if their window tint was outlawed.

Now, auto shops are being tasked with helping to enforce that law.

“Before, we never actually had to scan the car to see if the window tint was legal or not,” Michael Doner, the operations manager at Parmenter Auto in Horseheads, said. “New York State has made it so we have to test every car through the door and see if the tint on the car is legal.”

That means all side windows and the windshield are tested on passenger cars, which includes vehicles like sedans, hatchbacks, and coupes.  

Meanwhile, only the front windows and windshield are tested on SUVs, trucks, and vans.

“From the factory, your windows are already at about 75 percent, which means that the front windows of a truck or SUV, you could not put any tint on whatsoever,” Doner said. “Whereas on a car, you can’t put any tint on any windows except for the rear window which some consider the rear windshield.”

Doner said business hasn’t changed too much yet, although he’s had several customers fail inspection already this year with the new change. But for other businesses, the change has meant an increase in unusual activity.

“January is technically a slower month for window tinting, we have had quite a few people in for tint removals, that’s definitely picked up the last couple weeks,” Jason Spreng, the owner of United Detail, said. 

Fortunately for Jason’s business, vehicle window tinting isn’t its main source of revenue. But he, like many others, are left with questions after the law change.

“There’s a lot of vehicles stocked right off the lot that you can’t see through the back windows on, and a lot of people with passenger cars are wondering why they can’t have tint on them as well,” Spreng said.

Meanwhile, auto shop employees like Doner recommend not waiting until your vehicle’s inspection is expired to see if your tint will pass the test.

For more on the law change, click here.