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Darkly tinted windows make even simple traffic stops dangerous for law enforcement

Law enforcement officers have to take extra precautions when approaching a vehicle with darkly...
Law enforcement officers have to take extra precautions when approaching a vehicle with darkly tinted windows. (WTVG)
Published: Feb. 28, 2020 at 6:23 AM EST
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If pulling up next to a car with heavily tinted windows, so dark you can't see inside, makes you uneasy, imagine being a police officers who has to approach that car at a traffic stop.

By law, tint on the driver's windows can be no more than 50 percent, but many people ignore that and opt for much darker tint.

And that makes approaching a car while not knowing what's inside much more dangerous for police.

"If there's somebody in the back seat here with a fire arm or any intention of doing him harm, they're pretty much able to do that," Toledo Police officer John Winger said. "He can't see anything back here."

According to Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Ryan Purpura, darkly tinted windows pose a safety threat to officers even in broad daylight.

"We never know what we're going to get," Purpura said.

Officers can stop a vehicle with darkly tinted windows as a first offense. It's a minor misdemeanor, akin to a speeding ticket.

"We want to minimize our threat as much as we can," Winger said.

The best advice in a traffic stop is to roll down all of your windows, turn on interior lights, and place your hands on the steering wheel.