New York City Councilman Calls for Increased Tint Laws in State
by Penny Stacey
A New York City councilman, Peter Vallone, along with the city's public advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, have proposed that New York add inspections of window tint to the list of items inspected in its state motor vehicle inspections and that fines for illegal window tint be increased. The proposal comes in the wake of the death of a New York City police officer, Russel Timoshenko, who is alleged to have been shot after approaching a sports utility vehicle (SUV) with darkened windows.
The proposal was announced on Wednesday, July 25.
While Vallone hasn't been involved in prior tint legislation, he said Gotbaum approached him in her efforts because he is public safety chair for the City Council. As for reaction to this proposal, he said thus far he has not seen much.
"It's relatively new," he said. "It was very big news at City Hall yesterday [Wednesday]. I haven't had much reaction yet, but the little I have had has been very positive."
While both Vallone and Gotbaum work at the city level, they are hoping the New York State Legislature will take on this issue at its next session. However, if it doesn't, Vallone says he and Gotbaum will press on.
"What Betsy and I are both looking into is what we can do on the city level if the state doesn't act," he said. "Much of this may be pre-empted by state law, but if we can, we will."
State law in New York currently requires that sidelites have 70-percent visible light transmission; there are no limits on backlites. It is unknown at this time how dark the sidelites on the SUV approached by Officer Timoshenko were, according to Vallone.
"Clearly it was too dark for them to see through," he said. "I don't know the exact percentage of those windows."
According to a variety of news sources, Timoshenko, 23, was shot during a traffic stop on July 9, when he and another officer stopped a suspicious vehicle. Timoshenko approached the SUV on the passenger side, while his partner approached the driver side. Upon their approach, Timoshenko was shot twice in the face, and his partner was shot in both the arm and chest. Timoshenko was taken to the hospital and passed away five days later, on July 14.
Gotbaum's office could not be reached for comment.
Penny Stacey is the editor of glassBYTEs.comô/AGRR magazine.
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