Ohio Legislative Alerts

Ohio Legislative Alert 2-23-13

OHIO LEGISLATIVE ALERT  - SENATE BILL 114 - February 23, 2013

This legislation has been developed over the last several years (introduced in March 2011) to address a number of key issues relative to specialized motor vehicles.  These types of vehicles include low-speed, motor scooters, mini-trucks, and motorcycles.  An important component of the legislation also established regulatory requirements for the window tinting industry.  The majority of the legislation relating to the specialty vehicles has a delayed enactment date of 2017, but the window tinting mandates become effective on March 22, 2013.  It is imperative that all window tint installation businesses operating within the state of Ohio register with the Ohio Board of Motor Vehicle Repair on or before the effective date. 

Below this Alert is a letter from Michael R. Green, Executive Director of the Ohio Board of Motor Vehicle Repair, which provides all the necessary information for the registration of all window tinting businesses.  Mr. Greene has been extremely helpful in assisting our industry in achieving compliance with the new law and is available to assist any installer in achieving full compliance.

Senate Bill 114 also establishes standards and penalties for all tinting businesses which provide a “level playing field” for installers as well as providing consumer protections that are consistent and uniform within the state.

The Ohio Legislative Service Commission summarizes the window tinting provisions as follows:

Motor vehicles window tinting

• Prohibits a motor vehicle manufacturer, remanufacturer, or distributor from providing to a licensed motor vehicle dealer a motor vehicle that violates window tinting standards.

• Increases the penalty for installing nonconforming glass or other material.

• Establishes civil liability for installing nonconforming glass or other material, including costs and attorney fees.

• Imposes a registration or license suspension of up to 180 days on a registered motor vehicle collision repair facility or licensed motor vehicle dealer upon a second or subsequent violation for installing nonconforming glass or other material, based on court abstracts sent to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Board or Board of Motor Vehicle Collision Repair Registration.

General description of motor vehicle window tinting requirements
In general, the degree of tinted glass used on motor vehicles operated in Ohio must conform to standards established by the Director of Public Safety by rule. The bill does not change the windowtinting standards, but it (1) adds an additional prohibition, (2) increases the penalty for certain violations, (3) specifically authorizes a civil action under certain circumstances, including damages, costs of bringing the action, and attorney fees, and (4) imposes license or registration suspension for motor vehicle dealers or registered motor vehicle collision repair operators upon a second violation.

Current law establishes three prohibitions related to the windowtinting standards: (1) no person may operate a motor vehicle unless the vehicle conforms to the standards, (2) no person may install glass or other material that does not conform, and (3) no new or used motor vehicle dealer may sell a vehicle with nonconforming glass. The bill additionally prohibits any motor vehicle manufacturer, remanufacturer, or distributor from providing a vehicle to a licensed motor vehicle dealer that has non-conforming window tint.

Under current law, any violation of the prohibitions related to window tinting is a minor misdemeanor. The bill specifies that whoever installs nonconforming material is guilty of a fourth degree misdemeanor.  If a person who installs nonconforming material is a registered motor vehicle collision repair operator or a licensed motor vehicle dealer, the offender is subject to a registration or license suspension for up to 180 days on a second offense.

The bill requires every county court judge, mayor of a mayoral court, and clerk of a court of record to keep a full record of every case in which a person is charged with any violation related to nonconforming material and prepare an abstract of each case, which then must immediately be forwarded to the Board of Motor Vehicle Collision Repair Registration and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Board.  Each board must keep and maintain all abstracts of nonconforming material violations that the board receives and, within ten days after receipt of an abstract, each board must determine whether the person named in the abstract is registered or licensed with the board. If the person is registered or licensed, the board must determine whether the person’s registration or license is to be suspended based on whether the person previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a window tinting violation. If the person previously has had a violation, the respective board must suspend the license or registration for up to 180 days without a prior hearing.  The bill allows the owner of a motor vehicle on which was installed the non-conforming glass or material to bring a civil action against the installer for any damages incurred by that person as a result of the installation of the nonconforming glass or material, costs of maintaining the civil action, and attorney fees. The bill also allows the owner of a motor vehicle on which was installed non-conforming glass or material to file a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Dealers Board or the Board of Motor Vehicle Collision Repair Registration, as applicable, if the person who installed the non-conforming material was licensed or registered with either of those boards. Upon receipt of a complaint, the respective boards must investigate the complaint.

The previous provisions do not in any way change the current standards for tinting but rather address "professional standards" and "penalty provisions" for tinting violations.