Navigating the complexities of vehicle window tinting laws in Maryland is necessary if you do not want to keep getting pulled over by police.  These regulations try to strike a delicate balance between personal aesthetic preferences, privacy needs, and vital safety considerations. But most people in Maryland who are interested in tinting their windows find our laws excessive.

But everyone should acknowledge that overly dark window tinting can lead to decreased visibility, particularly in conditions of low light or nighttime, that can cause car accidents.  Our lawyers have seen this firsthand. This reduced clarity of vision can create safety risks for the driver as well as for pedestrians. To prevent such hazards, regulations are in place to ensure that a certain level of visibility is maintained for safe driving.

Maryland Vehicle Tint Darkness Regulations

Window Allowed Tint Darkness
Windshield Non-reflective 35% VLT tint on AS-1 line or top 5 inches
Front Side windows Must allow more than 35% of light in
Back Side windows Must allow more than 35% of light in
Rear Window Must allow more than 35% of light in

The Maryland Tint Law

Here is the verbatim text of the statute §22–406:

(a) (1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated. (2) “Aftermarket safety glass replacement” means motor vehicle safety glass replacement services that occur after the original installation by a vehicle manufacturer. (3) “Safety glass” means: (i) Any glass product that is so made or treated as substantially to prevent the glass from shattering and flying when struck or broken; or (ii) Any similar or other product that the Administration approves.

(b) A person may not drive on any highway in this State any motor vehicle manufactured or assembled after June 1, 1937, and registered in this State, unless the vehicle is equipped with safety glass wherever glass is used in the motor vehicle in doors, windows, windshields, and wings.

(c) A person may not sell any motor vehicle manufactured or assembled after June 1, 1937, registered or intended to be registered in this State and driven or intended to be driven on any highway in this State, unless the vehicle is equipped with safety glass wherever glass is used in the motor vehicle in doors, windows, windshields, and wings. Each sale in violation of this provision is a separate offense.

(d) The owner of any motor vehicle may not have broken glass in the windshield of the vehicle replaced with any glass other than safety glass.

(e) The owner of any motor vehicle may not have safety glass, broken or otherwise, in doors, windows, or wings of the motor vehicle replaced with any glass other than safety glass.

(f) A person may not install in the doors, windows, windshields, and wings of any motor vehicle any glass other than glass required by subsections (d) and (e) of this section.

(g) (1) (i) The Administration shall compile, maintain, and publish a list, by name, of the types of glass approved by it as conforming to the specifications and requirements of safety glass as set forth in this section.

(ii) The Administration shall adopt regulations establishing standards and requirements for aftermarket safety glass replacement that:

  1. Require that the products and services used meet or exceed original equipment manufacturer specifications;
  2. Require the use of motor vehicle safety glass that meets American National Standards Institute Z26.1 in accordance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 205 and any other applicable federal motor vehicle safety standard adopted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration; and
  3. Meet or exceed the standards and requirements of the American National Standards Institute/Auto Glass Safety Council/Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standard.

(2) The Administration may not register any motor vehicle that is subject to the provisions of this section unless it is equipped with an approved type of safety glass and shall suspend the registration of any motor vehicle subject to this section that the Administration finds is not so equipped until the vehicle is made to conform to the requirements of this section.

(h) In case of any violation of any provision of this section by any common carrier or person operating under a permit issued by the Public Service Commission of Maryland, the permit shall either be revoked or, in the discretion of the Commission, suspended until the provision is complied with to the satisfaction of the Commission.

(i) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (4) of this subsection, a person may not operate a vehicle registered under § 13–912, § 13–913, § 13–917, or § 13–937 of this article on a highway in this State if: (i) In the case of a vehicle registered under § 13–912 of this article, there is affixed to any window of the vehicle any tinting materials added to the window after manufacture of the vehicle that do not allow a light transmittance through the window of at least 35%; and (ii) In the case of a vehicle registered under § 13–913, § 13–917, or § 13–937 of this article, there is affixed to any window to the immediate right or left of the driver any window tinting materials added after manufacture of the vehicle that do not allow a light transmittance through the window of at least 35%.

(2) If a police officer observes that a vehicle is being operated in violation of paragraph (1) of this subsection, the officer may stop the driver of the vehicle and, in addition to a citation charging the driver with the offense, issue to the driver a safety equipment repair order in accordance with the provisions of § 23–105 of this article.

(3) A person may not install on a window of a vehicle any window tinting material that does not comply with the light transmittance requirements specified in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(4) (i) A person who must be protected from the sun for medical reasons is exempt from the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection if the owner has, in the vehicle at the time the vehicle is stopped by a police officer, a written certification in the manner and format required by the Automotive Safety Enforcement Division of the Department of State Police that details the owner’s medical need for tinted windows with a light transmittance of less than the allowed 35%, from a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State.

(ii) A written certification under this paragraph shall be valid for a period of time that the licensed physician determines the owner needs the enhanced tinted windows, not to exceed 2 years.

(iii) This subsection does not apply to tinting materials that:

  1. Are affixed in such a manner so as to be easily removed; and
  2. Are being used to protect a child less than 10 years of age from the sun.

(iv) Nothing in this subsection may be construed to:

  1. Allow any tinting materials to be added to the windshield of a vehicle below the AS1 line or below 5 inches from the top of the windshield;
  2. Prohibit a person from operating the vehicle while the person for whom the written certification is required is not present in the vehicle, provided that the written certification is in the vehicle; or
  3. Alter or restrict the authority of the Administrator to adopt regulations regarding vehicle windows, except with respect to the light transmittance requirements specified in this section.

Let’s Break Down the Maryland Tint Statute

This law explains the rules about the type of glass and window tinting allowed in cars in Maryland.

Types of Glass

  • “Aftermarket safety glass replacement” is when you replace your car’s glass after the manufacturer initially installed it.
  • “Safety glass” is a special kind of glass that doesn’t break into sharp pieces when it gets hit or broken. It can also be any other type of glass that the state transportation authority approves.

Rules for Driving in Maryland

  • Any car made after June 1, 1937, and driven in Maryland must have safety glass in all the windows, doors, windshields, and wings.
  • You can’t sell a car made after this date in Maryland unless it has safety glass in these places.
  • If your car’s windshield breaks, you have to replace it with safety glass.
  • All glass in the doors, windows, or wings must also be safety glass.

Installing Glass

  • You can’t put any glass in the doors, windows, windshields, or wings of a car that isn’t safety glass.
  • The state transportation authority will keep a list of approved glass types and will set standards for replacing glass to make sure it’s safe.

Registering Vehicles

  • A car must have approved safety glass to be registered in Maryland.
  • If it doesn’t, its registration will be suspended until it gets the right kind of glass.

Penalties for Common Carriers

  • If a public transport vehicle breaks these rules, they might lose their permit until they fix the problem.

Window Tinting Rules

  • You can’t drive certain types of registered vehicles if the windows have tinting that lets in less than 35% light.
  • If a police officer sees a car with too dark a tint, they can stop the driver, give them a ticket, and order them to fix the tint.
  • You can’t install window tinting that doesn’t meet the 35% light rule.
  • There’s an exception for people who need protection from the sun for medical reasons. They can have darker tints if they have a note from a doctor and keep it in their car.
  • This exception doesn’t allow for super dark tints on the windshield and doesn’t change other car window regulations.

Safety and Visibility Considerations

The primary rationale behind these tinting regulations centers on safety and visibility. Excessive tinting can significantly impair a driver’s ability to see, particularly in low-light conditions or at night.

This reduced visibility poses a risk not only to the driver but also to pedestrians and other vehicles. Furthermore, for law enforcement, the ability to see inside a vehicle during a traffic stop is crucial for officer safety. Clear visibility through windows is essential in preventing accidents and ensuring safe interactions with law enforcement.

Reflectiveness and Color Regulations

Maryland’s laws also address the reflectiveness and color of window tints. Tints that are too reflective or mirror-like can create hazards for other drivers due to glare. As such, the state restricts the use of metallic or mirrored tints. Moreover, tints in colors such as red, amber, and yellow are prohibited on front windshields and front side windows. These color restrictions are in place to avoid confusion with emergency vehicles and to maintain clarity of vision through the windows.

Exemptions for Medical Conditions

Recognizing that certain medical conditions necessitate protection from sunlight, Maryland law provides exemptions for such cases. Individuals with specific medical needs can apply for an exemption, which allows for darker tints than normally permitted. To qualify, one must present documentation from a licensed physician. Conditions that typically qualify for these exemptions include certain skin diseases, light sensitivity, and other health issues aggravated by exposure to sunlight.

Legal Consequences of Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with Maryland’s window tinting laws can lead to legal consequences. Violators may face fines and be required to remove non-compliant tinting. Additionally, illegal tints can result in a vehicle failing its inspection, complicating the registration and renewal process. It’s crucial for vehicle owners to ensure their tinting adheres to state laws to avoid these potential issues.

Tips for Choosing the Right Tint

When selecting a window tint, it’s important to choose one that complies with Maryland’s laws. Vehicle owners are advised to consult professional tinting services that are familiar with state regulations. Additionally, it’s wise to verify the most current laws with the local Department of Motor Vehicles or law enforcement agencies, as regulations can change.

Summary

Understanding and adhering to Maryland’s window tinting laws is imperative for legal compliance and road safety. Like them or not, these regulations are designed to ensure that drivers have sufficient visibility while also allowing for some degree of personalization and protection from the sun. By following these guidelines, drivers can enjoy the benefits of window tinting without compromising safety or facing legal repercussions.

In Maryland, as in many other states, the regulations regarding lunch breaks are an essential aspect of employment law. These laws are designed to ensure that workers receive adequate rest periods during their workday, contributing to their overall well-being and productivity.

The specifics of Maryland’s lunch break laws provide a framework for both employers and employees to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Legal Framework of Lunch Break Law

In a new Appellate Court of Maryland decision, the court addressed municipal liability for injuries sustained due to potentially negligent maintenance of public infrastructure.

The court examined the concepts of contributory negligence, where a plaintiff’s own negligence might offset the defendant’s liability, and the assumption of risk, assessing whether the plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily exposed himself to a known hazard. Additionally, the court addressed the sufficiency of the City’s notice regarding the potential danger of the storm grate and the relevance of past similar incidents. (Baltimore is always “the City” to me but it makes sense to abbreviate Annapolis that way here.)

While this is an unreported opinion, this case is instructive for understanding how Maryland courts navigate the complexities of these aspects of negligence law, particularly in the context of municipal responsibility and the nuances of contributory negligence and assumption of risk defenses.

Driving or riding in a golf cart is fun. Golf carts bring all the fun of driving a car without any of the rules of the road. While this combination usually makes for a carefree day on the links or a quick cruise through a retirement community, golf cart accidents can actually lead to serious injury. Golf carts were meant for just that: golf. However, their expanded use has led to an increase in injuries across the United States.

What Makes Golf Carts Unsafe?

A golf cart is essentially a tiny car with all of the safety features removed. Think about it: golf carts lack doors, sides, bumpers, airbags, and seatbelts, and usually have a plastic body. Considering that they are commonly driven at high speeds across rough terrain, it is surprising that there is absolutely no license requirement for driving one. Plus, that does not even take into account the normal maintenance required to ensure that all components like brakes or even the seats are functioning. It does not help that alcohol and golf often go hand in hand, meaning many drivers might be under the influence of alcohol. At the end of the day, there is very little in the way of regulation when it comes to golf carts, which makes it easy for the negligence of others to cause injury.

A new unreported case caught my eye, Mock v. Patterson, that involved a topic near and dear to my heart: collecting baseball cards.  There are some interesting hearsay issues here in this conversation case that are worth looking at more closely.  The entire appeal focused on what the defendant claimed was hearsay that should not have come into evidence.

Facts of Mock v. Patterson

The defendant faced allegations of taking possession of a portion of a renowned baseball card collector’s collection. Following the collector’s passing, a complaint was filed by the individual serving as the executor of the collector’s estate. The complaint accused the defendant and another party of taking custody of the baseball cards and failing to return them. The central issue in this case revolved around whether the defendant had returned the cards before the collector’s demise.

In Romeka v. RadAmerica II, LLC, a new Maryland Supreme Court opinion, a radiation therapist, sued her former employers, including names we know like MedStar and Helixcare Medical Group.

The basis for her lawsuit was that she was fired and she was fired because she was a whistleblower under the Maryland Health Care Worker Whistleblower Protection Act (HCWWPA).

The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the employers, which was affirmed by the Appellate Court of Maryland. She then petitioned for a writ of certiorari, which was granted by the Supreme Court of Maryland.

A new Maryland case, Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association vs. Cree, provides a good look at occupational disease worker’s compensation claims in Maryland.

Occupational Disease and Workers’ Compensation

Occupational disease workers’ compensation claims revolve around illnesses or conditions that an employee contracts due to their work environment. When someone says “occupational disease,” they are referring to a health condition or ailment that emerges as a direct consequence of specific hazards or exposures in the workplace.

The Maryland Appellate Court recently decided a Maryland dram shop case after the tragic death of a man in a single-car crash that had allegedly been overserved at a Charles County bar.  The plaintiffs had the good fortune of drawing as the author of the opinion the  Maryland Supreme Court judge the wrote the dissenting opinion in Maryland’s last big dram shop case.

Plaintiffs still lost.

Facts of Willett v. Ape Hangers

The Trans Health Equity Act, also known as House Bill 283, was passed by the Maryland House of Delegates with a majority of 93-37 votes. This bill mandates the inclusion of gender-affirming treatment for transgender individuals in Maryland’s Medicaid program.

The next step was for the measure to be considered by the Maryland Senate. Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery County), who introduced HB 283, expressed pride in the decision, calling it a significant step forward for transgender healthcare in the state. The bill passed.

So starting January 1, 2024, Maryland’s Trans Health Equity Act will become effective, making gender-affirming care more accessible to the state’s estimated 94,000 transgender and nonbinary residents. This law will expand Medicaid coverage to include more types of gender-affirming procedures.

The concept of sovereign immunity is a long-standing – many would say antiquated – belief that a state cannot be sued unless it agrees to be.  The Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA), gives this permission for certain cases.  A new case, Williams v. Morgan State, looks at if the MTCA’s agreement to let the state be sued applies to federal cases.

Facts of Williams v. Morgan State

The case started when a woman sued her former employer, Morgan State University, and her old boss, Dean DeWayne Wickham. She said they wrongly fired her for revealing that the University exaggerated some costs and tried to sway the 2016 Baltimore mayor’s race.