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A good view of a problem

December 13, 2006

Re "Through the glass, darkly," Opinion, Dec. 11

Karin Klein raised a good question: What are state or federal regulations on tinted windshields and windows? Doesn't justification for this "blacked-out privacy glass" fade when it hinders law enforcement by reducing the chances of observing illegal activity and increasing the danger of a car stop? What about how it can preclude witnesses or police from identifying a driver in a hit-and-run accident or other law violation?

As a driver, I can no longer make eye contact with other drivers on the freeway when I'm contemplating a lane change. As a pedestrian, I can no longer make eye contact to make sure a driver sees me. As a bicyclist, I can no longer see if someone is in a parked vehicle so that I can prepare myself for a sudden pullout.

I expect that others have additional examples of safety compromised in the name of automobile privacy. It would seem that any advantages to tinted windows (privacy, reduced glare) are outweighed by law enforcement and safety concerns. Why not strike a compromise, such as requiring the windshield, rear window and windows on both sides of the driver's compartment to be clear?

JOHN C. GARRETT

Costa Mesa

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