Woman Challenges State Ban On Auto Glass Tinting

February 10, 1991|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

Adele Gelasno and her husband drove north from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Abingdon last month because Maryland's cooler climate would be better for Adele's health.

They found they'd driven straight into aclassic Catch-22.

The Gelasnos' car can't pass inspection because it has tinted film over the side and rear windows. That's illegal in Maryland.

But Adele says her doctor tells her she must have tinted windows to keep heat out of the car to avoid exacerbating her multiple sclerosis, a chronic nervous system disease.

Unless the Toronado Trofeo passes inspection, the couple can't register the car or get license tags.

"The tinting I have on the car is legal in Florida," she said. "I need the tinted film to keep the heat out of the car because the heat can make me start shaking, and my eyes start twitching. I have no problem driving, it's just the heat and the sun. This is discrimination against the handicapped."

She has a signed statement from her doctoron her Motor Vehicle Administration application for a handicapped sticker for her automobile.

In the statement, Dr. William Sheremata of the University of Miami School of Medicine wrote, "My patient requires sunglasses and window tinting. Heat precipitates exacerbation." Adele Gelasno said she and her husband moved north because Sherematasaid the Florida climate was bad for her health.

But James Lang, a spokesman for the state Motor Vehicle Administration, said that under the law, "There's no tinting and no medical waivers."

Lang did say, however, that four public hearings have been scheduled in various parts of the state during February and March on proposed amendmentsto the window tinting law. One proposal would allow a certain degreeof tinting on windows, he said.

"The only question left is 'What can she do now?' and the answer is there's nothing she can do," said Lang.

Adele Gelasno's husband, Bernie, said he can't understand that the state would pass a law that didn't make allowances for medicalexemptions.

"You see my car? That's the way it's going to stay," he said. "If I didn't need that tinting on the windows, if it weren'tfor her health, I'd probably give in after a fight." He said one MVAemployee suggested the couple remove the tinted film on their car windows, have the car inspected, and then replace the film, Mr. Gelasnosaid.

"I've got a home in Florida, I could keep my car registeredin Florida, but I don't want to do that," said Mr. Gelasno. "I want to register it in Maryland and I want to do it legally."

"Maybe wecan say something to try and change it," he Gelasno said. "But rightnow, they're showing a disregard for her health."

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