California’s windows glazing law to affect wireless signal reception

California’s latest requirement for the auto industry – advanced window glazing to keep vehicles cooler,  could prevent drivers from making phone calls, listening to satellite radio or using garage door openers.

The California Air Resources Board has adopted a new “Cool Cars” regulation ordering advanced glazing of windows to block the sun’s heat and reduce the need for air conditioning. Windows must be coated with microscopic specks of metal oxide to reflect sunlight.

The regulations take effect in 2012, with a three-year phase-in and requires that by 2014 all vehicles prevent 45 percent of the energy from the sun from entering a vehicle and 60 percent by 2016.

The regulation applies to all new vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less.The board will review the second phase of the regulation next summer. By the end of this month, the board plans to publish its completed regulation. The public gets 15 days to comment with the final package to be completed by May 2010.

Garmin’s initial testing said the signals from GPS devices were degraded.

Major automakers, led by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, argued for a different standard that would “absorb” rather than “reflect” energy and wouldn’t risk wireless signals.

The board has acknowledged that the reflective coating on windows can hinder communications, but said antennas are “an alternative already abundantly used.”

Source: Detroit News.

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