Is CARB backing down on its so-called "cool cars" regulation? On May 7, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will have to turn in its final draft of the controversial regulations, which calls for automakers to build cars and trucks with windows that prevent 45% of the sun's energy from entering a vehicle by 2014 and 60% by 2016. Vehicle manufacturers have argued that it will be expensive to meet the requirements, and other groups are complaining for their own reasons. Heck, there was initially concern that off-roaders might lose their beloved Jeep Wrangler altogether. Thank goodness they came to their senses.

While several different groups have significant concerns about the proposal, it looks like CARB might finally be listening to one group in particular – law enforcement. It seems that California's sheriffs, police chiefs and crime victim groups are calling for the plan to be amended... and CARB is actually listening.

According to The Detroit News, The California Police Chiefs Association, California State Sheriffs Association, Crime Victims United of California and other groups are concerned that the required window glazing needed to meet the new regulations will seriously degrade cell phone signals, as well as those from ankle monitoring bracelets. We wouldn't want to lose track of felons now, would we? The other big concern is that 911 calls might not get through if the window treatment prohibits a strong signal.

That seems to be sending CARB back to the drawing board, with suggestions coming that the plan will be revised before the May 7 deadline. As a refresher, the idea behind the "cool cars" regulation is to save gas and reduce emissions. Cooler cars reduce their air con use, and with California's overflowing freeways, that could mean a significant drop. In fact, CARB is predicting that the regulations will save 700,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2020 – the equivalent of parking 140,000 cars a year.

[Source: The Detroit News]