The Pasco Police Department is cracking down on vehicles with illegally tinted windows in an effort to keep pedestrians and officers safe.
State law requires window tint to be 24 percent light transmittant. Only the top six inches of the windshield can be tinted.
SUVs, vans and pickup trucks must have legal tint on the driver and passenger windows. Any mirror, red, gold, yellow or black materials or tints are illegal.
Patrol and traffic safety crews are on the lookout for vehicles that don't meet the requirements, Officer Kari Skinner said. A ticket for illegal tint costs $124.
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The department has issued three tickets and around 75 warnings, Skinner said. If drivers fix the tint after getting a ticket, officials will consider reducing the ticket or waiving it altogether.
"Our main focus with the project is education," Skinner said. "We want to go home at the end of the night."
The crackdown has also led to at least one DUI arrest and multiple felony warrant arrests, Skinner said.
Police in Pasco and Kennewick recently purchased new meters to enable their officers to check window tints.
There are two main reasons for the crackdown, Skinner said.
The first is pedestrian safety and making sure that drivers are able to see pedestrians crossing the street at night. Excessively dark windows also increase the risk for traffic collisions.
The second is to increase safety during traffic stops, which are one of the deadliest activities for police. Illegal window tints make it hard to see who is in the car or if anyone has a weapon.
Skinner has visited every window tinting shop in Pasco, and some in Kennewick, to educate installers about the rules, she said.
Most installers have been receptive to Skinner and her team, though there was one tint shop that was "upset" and others that didn't know about the state law, she said.
Skinner also plans to send notices to automotive dealerships to inform them it is illegal to sell cars with illegal tints.
"A lot of drivers are saying, 'Well I bought my car this way,' " Skinner said.
-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @Ty_richardson