GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
SESSION LAW 2000-75
AN ACT TO ALLOW A PERSON WHO SUFFERS FROM A MEDICAL CONDITION THAT CAUSES THE PERSON TO BE PHOTOSENSITIVE TO VISIBLE LIGHT TO HAVE A DARKER VEHICLE WINDOW THAN IS ALLOWED UNDER THE WINDOW TINTING LAWS AND TO ELIMINATE THE AFTER-FACTORY WINDOW TINTING INSPECTION FEE FOR VEHICLES OWNED BY PERSONS ISSUED A MEDICAL EXCEPTION PERMIT BY THE DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES ALLOWING THE WINDOW TINTING.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
Section 1. G.S. 20-127 reads as rewritten:
"§ 20-127. Windows and windshield wipers.
(a) Windshield Wipers. – A vehicle that is operated on
a highway and has a windshield
must shall have a windshield wiper
to clear rain or other substances from the windshield in front of the driver of
the vehicle and the windshield wiper must shall be in good
working order. If a vehicle has more than one windshield wiper to clear
substances from the windshield, all the windshield wipers must shall be
in good working order.
(b) Window Tinting Restrictions. – A window of a
vehicle that is operated on a highway or a public vehicular area
comply with this subsection. The windshield of the vehicle may be tinted
only along the top of the windshield and the tinting may not extend more than
five inches below the top of the windshield or below the AS1 line of the
windshield, whichever measurement is longer. Provided, however, an untinted
clear film which does not obstruct vision but which reduces or eliminates
ultraviolet radiation from entering a vehicle may be applied to the
windshield. Any other window of the vehicle may be tinted in accordance
with the following restrictions:
(1) The total light transmission of the tinted window
shall be at least thirty-five percent (35%). A vehicle window that,
by use of a light meter approved by the Commissioner, measures a total light
transmission of more than thirty-two percent (32%) is conclusively presumed to
meet this restriction.
(2) The light reflectance of the tinted window
be twenty percent (20%) or less.
(3) Tinted film or another material used to tint the
must shall be nonreflective and must shall not be
a color other than red, yellow, or amber.
(c) Tinting Exceptions. – The window tinting restrictions in subsection (b) of this section apply without exception to the windshield of a vehicle. The window tinting restrictions in subdivisions (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section do not apply to any of the following vehicle windows:
(1) A window of an excursion passenger vehicle, as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(27)a.
(2) A window of a for-hire passenger vehicle, as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(27)b.
(3) A window of a common carrier of passengers, as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(27)c.
(4) A window of a motor home, as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(27)d2.
(5) A window of an ambulance, as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(27)f.
(6) The rear window of a property-hauling vehicle, as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(31).
(7) A window of a limousine.
(8) A window of a law enforcement vehicle.
(9) A window of a multipurpose vehicle that is behind the driver of the vehicle. A multipurpose vehicle is a passenger vehicle that is designed to carry 10 or fewer passengers and either is constructed on a truck chassis or has special features designed for occasional off-road operation. A minivan and a pickup truck are multipurpose vehicles.
(10) A window of a vehicle that is registered in another state and meets the requirements of the state in which it is registered.
(11) A window of a vehicle for which the Division has issued a medical exception permit under subsection (f) of this section.
(d) Violations. – A person who does any of the following commits a misdemeanor of the class set in G.S. 20-176:
(1) Applies tinting to the window of a vehicle that is subject to a safety inspection in this State and the resulting tinted window does not meet the window tinting restrictions set in this section.
(2) Drives on a highway or a public vehicular area a vehicle that has a window that does not meet the window tinting restrictions set in this section.
(e) Defense. – It is a defense to a charge of driving a
vehicle with an unlawfully tinted window that the tinting was removed within 15
days after the charge and the window now meets the window tinting restrictions.
To assert this defense, the person charged
must shall produce in
court, or submit to the prosecuting attorney before trial, a certificate from
the Division of Motor Vehicles or the Highway Patrol showing that the window
complies with the restrictions.
(f) Medical Exception. – A person who suffers from a medical condition that causes the person to be photosensitive to visible light may obtain a medical exception permit. To obtain a permit, an applicant shall apply in writing to the Drivers Medical Evaluation Program and have his or her doctor complete the required medical evaluation form provided by the Division. The permit shall be valid for five years from the date of issue, unless a shorter time is directed by the Drivers Medical Evaluation Program. The renewal shall require a medical recertification that the person continues to suffer from a medical condition requiring tinting.
A person may receive no more than two medical exception permits that are valid at any one time. A permit issued under this subsection shall specify the vehicle to which it applies, the windows that may be tinted, and the permitted levels of tinting. The permit shall be carried in the vehicle to which it applies when the vehicle is driven on a highway.
The Division shall give a person who receives a medical exception permit a sticker to place on the lower left-hand corner of the rear window of the vehicle to which it applies. The sticker shall be designed to give prospective purchasers of the vehicle notice that the windows of the vehicle do not meet the requirements of G.S. 20-127(b), and shall be placed between the window and the tinting when the tinting is installed. The Division shall adopt rules regarding the specifications of the medical exception sticker. Failure to display the sticker is an infraction punishable by a two hundred dollar ($200.00) fine."
Section 2. The Medical Review Branch of the Division of Motor Vehicles shall issue rules and create forms and permits necessary for this program. Until funds for this program are appropriated by the General Assembly, the Medical Review Branch shall manually issue all medical exception permits and shall manually maintain the records related specifically to these permits.
The Division of Motor Vehicles shall add the medical exception described in Section 1 of this act to the STARS program, to allow the computerized issuance of medical exception permits and to allow computerized maintenance of the records related specifically to these permits when it is modifying that computer program for some other purpose.
The Division of Motor Vehicles shall report to the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee six months after the first medical exception permit is issued on the number of permits issued and the projected additional costs, if any, of operating the program.
Section 3. G.S. 20-183.7(a) reads as rewritten:
"(a) Fee Amount. – When a fee applies to an inspection of a vehicle or the issuance of an inspection sticker, the fee must be collected. The following fees apply to an inspection of a vehicle and the issuance of an inspection sticker:
Type Inspection Sticker
Only, Without After- Factory Tinted Window
Only $ 8.25 $ 1.00 Safety Only, With After-Factory Tinted Window 18.25 1.00
Emissions and Safety
Without After-Factory Tinted Window 17.00 2.40 Emissions and Safety With After-Factory Tinted Window 27.00 2.40.
The fee for performing an inspection of a vehicle applies
when an inspection is performed, regardless of whether the vehicle passes the
inspection. The fee for an inspection sticker applies when an inspection
sticker is put on a vehicle. The fee for
performing an inspection of a
vehicle with a inspecting after-factory tinted window windows
shall be ten dollars ($10.00), and the fee applies only to an inspection
performed with a light meter after a safety inspection mechanic determined that
the window had after-factory tint. A safety inspection mechanic shall not
inspect an after-factory tinted window of a vehicle for which the Division has
issued a medical exception permit pursuant to G.S. 20-127(f).
A vehicle that is inspected at an inspection station and fails the inspection is entitled to be reinspected at the same station at any time within 30 days of the failed inspection without paying another inspection fee."
Section 4. This act becomes effective July 1, 2001.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 30th day of June, 2000.
s/ Marc Basnight
President Pro Tempore of the Senate
s/ James B. Black
Speaker of the House of Representatives
s/ James B. Hunt, Jr.
Approved 10:10 p.m. this 30th day of June, 2000