Medical waiver for tinted windows in Massachusetts

A friend is a tinted window enthusiast and mentioned in a chat group that he was having some trouble getting his doctor in Maskachusetts to sign documents that will satisfy the bureaucracy that runs the tint waiver program:

Apparently this should not be too challenging. The tint enthusiast knows of some people who were approved due to doctors using “dry skin” as a justification.

A response from a Californian in the chat group:

Get medicinal marijuana doc to say u r too stoned to put sunglasses on

Separately, is tinted glass necessary on any modern car? For roughly 20 years, at least mid-trim cars have come from the factory with heat-rejecting (sometimes called “solar absorbing”) glass, right?

(Where is aftermarket tint necessary? Airplane windows! Unfortunately, they are plastic and can be destroyed by standard automotive products. Small planes typically have no air-conditioning (costs $30,000 and reduces payload by 10 percent) and the factory windows are greatly inferior in heat-rejection to what’s in a Toyota Corolla (one of which passed us on Florida’s Turnpike the other day going at least 90 mph!). Plane Tint sells a specially formulated product that we applied to our 2005 SR20 before making the Florida move. It has held up well so far.)

10 thoughts on “Medical waiver for tinted windows in Massachusetts

  1. I wonder if anyone has done a credible study of Smash-N-Grab incidents reported to insurance companies vis-a-vis the level of window tinting on the cars in question. Wouldn’t insurance companies want to keep track of that?

    >Separately, is tinted glass necessary on any modern car? For roughly 20 years, at least mid-trim cars have come from the factory with heat-rejecting (sometimes called “solar absorbing”) glass, right?

    Yes, I think so, on many models, at least at the tops of the front windshield and rear glass. I think Mercedes has some kind of Mercilessly Expensive system.

    Once again, I something of an outlier with my 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid, which came from the factory (at least on the Limited models) with: extra tint on the passenger, rear cargo compartment and rear hatch windows. This is because the High Voltage battery serves as the floor of the rear cargo compartment. On the 2005-2009 models, the front A/C was supplemented by an additional REAR evaporator – a very good thermal management system, esp. in the summer (HEAT is the enemy of the NiMH cells in my car.) In 2010 partially in response to the 2008/car industry financial crisis, the engineers at Ford just REMOVED that whole system, making the battery cooling to rely 100% on its inboard fans and the temperature of the cabin.

    Upshot: The window tinting helps this car’s HV battery life by blocking more light and keeping the interior cooler in direct sun, which is sometimes unavoidable to park in. I also bought a reflective sunshade for my windshield from Heatshield, Inc. (Made in USA) – which works great. These features cut down on the max cabin temp (maybe 15 degrees F?) you can feel and measure it.

    They also make driving at night more of a challenge, so I really pay extra attention.

    So I guess the answer is a qualified “Yes. People who are not attention seekers who don’t want people to look closely and are also not stoners have a legitimate reason to want to tint their windows.”

    • @Philg: See also the below link to with an aircraft window example.

      *Addendum: Mercedes has had the Magic Sky Control option available on the sunroof of select models for about a decade now. The price in addition to the regular sunroof is in the $2000 range. They apparently made the decision not to offer the technology on the car’s other glass. How it works, from someone named Tony Pimpo, about a decade ago:

      “The tech works by using two pieces of glass with a matrix polymer film between them. The polymer contains oblong-shaped nano particules that line up in a uniform pattern when there is an electrical current, allowing light to pass through. When electric current is turned off, the particles lose their uniformity, blocking 80 percent of sunlight. And that folks was your science lesson for today! Beyond the aforementioned hurdles are regulatory ones. States have different standards on what kind of tint is allowed, and Mercedes would need to find one that works in all states in order to roll this out. This is a feature that has a lot of merit though, so we hope Mercedes keeps with it. There’d be something really cool about hitting a button and darkening your window; especially when someone looks in….”

      Here are some deeper details on its origin. Now that it has been on the market for 10+ years, what reasons except regulatory and not wanting to kill off the aftermarket window-tint ecosystem do manufacturers have not to offer it down-market?

  2. “Separately, is tinted glass necessary on any modern car? For roughly 20 years, at least mid-trim cars have come from the factory with heat-rejecting (sometimes called “solar absorbing”) glass, right?

    I think dark tint is still necessary so that people can update their facebook and instagram while driving without getting a ticket.

  3. I’ve had 2 separate instances of melanoma, and I’ve researched this a little. My understanding is that the windshield is laminated glass – thicker and blocks *most* UV (but trying to find details on this is a serious trip down the Rabbit Hole), but all side windows are tempered (not as good at blocking UV), so I had all of my side windows tinted. Some states I found will give a medical exemption to allow one to tint if you have had melanoma. I did NOT tint the front windshield because of possible issues of night driving glare, as well as worried about optical clarity.

    And almost all tint films (regardless of how much visible light they allow) are spec’d at blocking 99% of UV.

    I also tinted key windows in our home.

    • Paul: Glad that you’ve survived the melanoma. You’ve raised a point that drives me crazy regarding home glass. I think nearly every window shipped for a house in the U.S. should have photochromic tint that will get moderately dark on the sunniest summer days and then go clear on overcast days and at night. This would save on A/C and also make interior life more pleasant, but it seems as though there is no demand for what seems to me an obvious product.

    • Phil: I wonder how costly (and durable) those photochromic tints are? I’ve never seen large glass with photochromic tent, just prescription glasses, sunglasses, and snow goggles. Also I have noticed on my sunglasses if you get any shade on one part of them (for example, you put them down on a rock), you will of course get one part darker than the other. Imagine that scenario with a house and trees, or the shadows of buildings, etc

    • photochromic tint that will get moderately dark on the sunniest summer days

      Is it possible to have the tint also temp sensitive, so it only operates in summer?

      Otherwise it would make sense to photochromic tint east and west facing windows (most light comes during summer) but NOT south facing windows (most light comes during winter).

    • @Steve @Philg: See my post on the Merciless Benz™ Magic Sky Control. After 10 years on the market, one would have thought the price-per-pane would have come down – at least to the extent that wealthier homeowners could spec. it on the home windows, integrated into the house’s climate control system. I wonder how long it lasts? Apparently it’s durable enough to handle living in the sunroof of a car…

    • > durable enough to handle living in the sunroof of a car

      Accessories of luxury cars like that auto-tinting sunroof are designed for 10 years, if that. It’s not the drivetrain. The primary buyer (that buys new) doesn’t care what happens once they replace the car.

  4. CVans RV kits have an (unlisted) option to order a tinted canopy. If homebuilts have the option now you should see it in the commercial planes within a decade or two. Or you could just build one- it’s mostly fun with occasional moments of immense frustration.

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