Updated 07/16/2012 02:47 PM
Driving It Home: Customizing your car could cost you
Did you know that dangling an air freshener in your windshield or putting a frame around your license plate could get you a ticket? In this month's Driving it Home, the State Police and our Megan Cruz walk us through some common car violations that could cost you.
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STATEWIDE -- You weren't speeding, or tailgating, or texting while driving, so why were you pulled over?
"Is there any particular reason you don't have the front license plate on the car?" asked Trooper Leonard Fornabia with the New York State Police.
It's just one of many equipment violations that drivers can be ticketed for. Problem is, the State Police say many people who are pulled over say they had no idea they were doing anything illegal.
"If there was a ticket issued, it should go to General Motors," said Bill from Clifton Park. "There's really no place for a front license plate."
Maybe so, but Trooper Fornabia says that's no excuse. Neither is not knowing the law. That's why he's out on the streets, to stress what you can and cannot do to your car.
"Safety is the reason," said Trooper Fornabia. "Give you an example - tinted windows. If you darken your windows, it's harder for you see out of the windows, making it unsafe when you change lanes."
According to state law, 70 percent of light has to pass through the tint. One motorist fessed up to knowingly having too dark of a tint.
"Everybody does stuff to their car that they're really not suppose to do. Just to keep a little shade, keeps the sun out of your face," said Joseph Stanley from Watervliet.
But others said it's news to them.
"I asked him, I said, 'Wait. I bought these things at the local retailers. How could they be illegal? I was informed that apparently, you could buy lots of things that are technically illegal in New York State that you shouldn't have on your car," said Clifton Park resident Bruce Saddler.
"Bottom line is if you buy your car right from the factory show room, and you add no modifications, it's going to be a legal vehicle," said Trooper Fornabia. Once you start making modifications, a little light bulb should go off in your head and say, 'This might not be legal - let me check.'"
Another one you may not know is that your license plate frame cannot cover any writing on the plate. You also can't have any coverings or tint on it.
"Even a clear one? Really? You can't see through a clear license plate cover?" said Saddler.
Lenny said tinted or extra lights, loud mufflers, and obstructed windshields are also big ones. He said he wants to see fewer tickets written.
"We're trying to educate the public, to remind them, this is not legal on your car, you have to fix it," said Saddler.
"Now that you know it's illegal, what are you going to do?" Asked the YNN reporter.
"Move out of New York State!" Saddler said jokingly.