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Afraid of the Dark

October 18, 2012
Charles Laquidara ( , The Maui Weekly

I know there are probably legal regulations pertaining to the darkness level of tinted windows on cars. I'm not quite sure what those rules are, or whether anyone even pays any attention to them, but I'm thinking there are a few downsides to the whole "tinted is cool" syndrome.

For example, when someone with black windows drives by and honks his or her horn, I have no idea who I'm waving back to, or if they were even honking at me in the first place.

When I drive up to a stop sign or an intersection and I can't see the face of the driver of the car across from me, I can't see where they're looking. Do they see me? Are they waving me on?

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Kayak Talkin’
Charles Laquidara

Whatever they're doing, it could get a bit awkward, and maybe even dangerous.

What if I'm a cop and I see a car weaving in and out of the passing lane on Mokulele Highway. I need to pull that car over, but if all the windows are black and I can't see who or what is inside, I think I might want to call for backup before I even got out of my cruiser.

(And exactly what is the reason for tinting the side and rear windows of your car? Is Aerosmith riding in the backseat?)

If an ice-head or a texter is driving the car behind or across from you, it's your right to have that information.

Granted, we live on an island that has a lot of sunshine, and cars should have some kind of window tinting to protect drivers and passengers from the glare and the strong sun.

But if you out there with the pitch-black windows want to be totally anonymous and mysterious, please just get off the road, go home and pull down your shades. Because once you get on a public roadway, other drivers and pedestrians have the right to see you and to know what you're up to.

I'm sure there are laws that have been put in place to regulate the darkness of tinted windows, but I believe those laws should be more strictly enforced.

[Editor's note: According to, Hawai'i instated a tinting law in 1989. 291-21.5 can be read in its entirety at]

This opinion column is written by Charles Laquidara, who has lived on Maui for over 11 years. He worked at WBCN radio in Boston for 30 years as the morning-drive host of a show called "The Big Mattress" and is occasionally heard on Mana'o Radio here on-island. Email



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