Hello all, I just moved to New Hampshire and found this thread, I have a few things to say on the subject of window tint & states, particularly NH.
With New Hampshire's law on window tint, you're not supposed to have any- at all- in the front windows. Problem is, that's a legal paradox because glass itself will block some light (even if its less than 5%) just by being glass, as far as the state's concerned anything that will block light will be illegal, yet there is no, from a scientific point of view, 100.000% clear glass for front car windows. Many cars brand new stock, as in 100% all original off the assembly line floor, block various amounts of light from passing through the front windows, so a random BMW may block more or less than a random brand new Chrysler, Chevy, and so on. So it is possible that a car can actually block more light than yours, and since its original that's ok, but if you were to make yours darker to be as dark as that car, yours wouldn't be legal (confused yet?).
The problem is that there are real logistical reasons for having window tint, not just in terms of glare or light sensitivity.
There are parts of NH that have crime just like everywhere else in the country, and for a thief, all it takes is walking up to a car when no one is looking, smashing the window and stealing the car, whatever is inside it- or hurting its occupants. They make security film for this purpose, I tend to prefer it in my cars because I have had a lot of custom cars where a theft could mean more than simply loss of transportation, but loss of a piece of artwork I've spent years making to the way I want. If you've put 5-10 years of your life making a customized car, you don't want it to simply disappear even if your insurance would pay for its appraised value. The problem is that this security film is by the law seen as window tint and therefore is not legal on the windows most likely to be broken in the act of a crime (front side windows). I've talked to licensed inspectors in NH on this issue and they've all told me any window tint at all, even if its barely noticeable, is not legal.
The law in NH also doesn't care about how old your car is. If you have a customized antique car (say a 1930 Model A ford) you're not going to be driving it back & forward to work every day, and you're not going to be using it at all in all those snowy, wintry months... yet you're still bound to the same window tint regulations even if you have a custom show car that isn't going to see much use. Not only that but now, because you live in NH- you're extra burdened when it comes to showing off your car because you cannot use window tint at shows & classes that expect it. This can have impacts on your livelihood if you use your car show awards on your resume (particulrly important if you yourself make custom cars for aliving). You'd be left only being able to show "trailer queens" that never get driven on the road at all, not because they are unsafe, but because they'd never be street legal without making them not show-worthy (i.e. removing tint).
I have lived in a lot of states, and I'll tell you NH is one of the worst there is when it comes to custom car owners. Most states will give you seem leeway when you're working on a customized antique car, realizing you'll rarely be using it at all and are more likely to take safety to heart (since an accident would mean destroying all your hard work). CA has a reputation like this as well, because in CA they have all these tough emissions laws and regulations on what parts you can or cannot use... but with NH, they have a lot of regulations for cars that simply have no basis or logic behind them... but only become abrasive to the custom car crowd because they're the only ones who'd realize it could be a problem.
I'll give you an example, say you want to put an aftermarket exhaust system on your car. In most states, you can do whatever you want provided its below the sound laws (dB limits), some states like PA will want you (for safety reasons) putting the outlet AFTER the rear most axle to lower the odds of carbon monoixde poisoning, yet there are some cars (Corvettes, Shelby Cobras etc) that left the factory with what are called side exists or side pipes kits (when the mufflers run the length of the car between the tires and exit right before the rear tires). I'm sure you've all seen these exhaust systems, they're used on a lot of well known American and European classic cars.
But in NH, they require you use the stock muffler locations in order to pass inspection- and so you can't have a muffler in any other location without breaking the law. If your car originally had a single pipe exhaust, its not legal to go to a dual exhaust (even if doing so cuts down on emissions, increases your performance, and when you drive slow... increase your mpgs) since one of the mufflers would not be in a stock location. The only way around this in NH is to have your car inspected, titled and registered as a custom made car, which gives you more freedom in determining "what OEM for your car is" but this is loop hole was only made for kit cars (like home built cars that look like antique cars, but are not) and you don't wanna know what kind of red tape is involved in making one of these & getting them inspected in NH, AND they only do the inspections for these cars one time a year.
But regardless how you try to get your car classified, home made, stock, antique, etc- you all have to follow NH's laws where they talk about universal stuff, like window tint or mufflers. NH by law requires you to use a muffler, and the legal definition of a muffler is a device that lowers engine noise via either bellow disks or chambers. Problem is very few mufflers meet that definition in the aftermarket world, and a good deal of the glasspacks out there are what they call "straight threw" designs which are explicitly outlawed in NH.
When I moved here I had to dump almost three grand into my custom car to get it street legal, because of all these bureocratic problems, and I couldn't drive my car for a week while it sat at a dealership while they tried to find out from the state whether or not my muffler was street legal. In my case it uses bellow disks, but the disks are adjustable and they were afraid it wouldn't be legal because I could, in theory "remove the disks and make it a straight thru muffler." [In theory I could take a broom stick and gut a cat converter, violating both state & federal emissions laws but that doesn't make broom sticks illegal- and if I were to use a broom stick in that manner I'd be the one fined for it if caught] In the end the state sided with me and said that my muffler was in fact legal since it met the legal definition, but I could be ticketted if I took the disks off and got caught driving it that way (I don't intend to, I am all for following the laws... btw I can list more than two dozen states my car would have been 100% legal in, prior to these modifications to get it to pass in NH).
I also had a problem where I had great difficulty even finding a shop that was willing to inspect my car because I guess a lot of the small town shops in at least my part of NH, are afraid of custom cars and don't want anything to do with them.
There is no dB limit in NH, you can in theory be at any noise level however its basically the cop's judgment as to whether or not its "too loud." So if you anger a cop by running limo tint on an uninspected car, or by refusing to switch your car over to NH plates- then you also risk him going and saying "you know, I think your exhaust is too loud" and ticketing you for that as well. He doesn't even have to measure it to subjectively explain how loud it is, it can basically be "because I said so" even if you're driving an all original sports car that has a stock exhaust system on it. Again different cars are different even when new in terms of how much noise they make, and I doubt there are a lot of NH drivers using Vectors, Lambo's or other "Super Cars" to get to work every day so this is mostly an academic debate... nonetheless I wouldn't want to make a cop angry in a state where they have such freedom to cite you for arbitrary things.
This state was eager to implace a state-wide dB limit, a few years ago they tried to impose a (believe it was 105) dB limit on motorcyles. The biker crowd wasn't happy with this at all, because it would have made virtually everything that isn't a moped illegal in NH (105 is comparable to what most states expect for cars, and as everyone knows- bikes are usually louder, I think 120 is what NY expected me to stay under with normal street legal CARS). If my memory serves me, what happened was this was proposed by the politicians, they passed it, it was put into law and then appealed... which shows that NH is at least willing to listen to logic on these issues when they pop up, hopefully this will be the rule and not the exception of the rule
Following the law is always the safest bet, but YMMV!
Originally Posted by Ataraxia
Most states have medical exemptions. Are there medical exemptions for having window tint in New Hampshire?
As best as I can tell from the car shops I have spoken to, there are no medical excemptions in NH (whereas there are in almost every other state in the country).
I can think of a number of medical reseasons for window tint, light sensitivity and chronic migraines being two strong examples. For me, bright lights act as a migraine trigger... and if I get a migraine I am not safe to drive (especially if I get a full out migraine attack where I get tunnel vision, visual distrubances, or in extreme cases- loss of eyesight in one or more eyes). If I get a bad migraine I have to pull over and wait for my RX's to kick in (if they kick in) or have someone come get me, my best answer to this concern is window tint and I have had my doctors offer repeadtidly to write me the medical letters stating my medical need for window tint. But since, as far as anyone has ever told me, is not an option in NH- I have to wear sunglasses, even at night sometimes.
The sad thing is that window tint is what everyone bashes when stuff known to be migraine triggers, like certain types of headlight bulbs- are not. If someone is driving with their hibeams on all the time, or a big truck is tailgating me, those headlights can be downright brutal for me. It physically hurts.
Now I mean all this commentary not as "NH-bashing"- there are a lot of things I like about the state.... car laws isn't one of them.
The other thing I'll tell you is: don't go by what the window tint installers tell you regarding the law. They have a vested interest in selling you tint, and some less than ethical shops will say something is legal when its not. When in doubt, go talk to a local government, a politician, even a state trooper to get your facts straight before forking over that money for window tint or a custom exhaust system- it could end up saving you hundreds of dollars. Same goes for exhaust shops, when in doubt seek out an authority figure.