Window Tint Laws and Regulations
Researched By: Carisma Logan
If you are a driver, it’s a good bet that one of the last things you want to have happen is a traffic stop. In all 50 states, window tinting laws are enacted primarily for the safety of law enforcement. Taking time to familiarize yourself with your state’s window tinting laws can go a far way in avoiding traffic stops, citations, fines and headache. Each state has it’s own unique laws pertaining to window tinting. Be aware of the laws where you live as well as other states you may visit. Let’s take a few minutes to review some categories that states regulate. Understanding them is essential before having any window tint installed on your vehicle.
1 – Window Tinting Darkness Regulations:
This one is no secret. It is probably one of the most talked about window tinting laws that are on the books: that if your tint is too dark, there’s a good chance you can get stopped. Let’s work to clarify that: Window tinting darkness is measured in units of VLT (Visible Light Transmission). That is the percentage of light that the film allows to pass through the windows.
2 – Color Restrictions on Window Tinting:
While this will not affect most of you, it is important to note that some colors are prohibited for window tinting. The primary reason for this is to avoid driver confusion between civil and law enforcement vehicles. That is why often times, states prohibit colors such as blue, yellow and red from window tinting. A driver could mistake such a vehicle for an emergency vehicle – and that alone can cause chaos. So if you’re the adventurous type, first check with the tinting laws in your jurisdiction to ensure that you’re in the clear.
3 – Reflectivity Standards for Window Tinting
Again, this is unlikely to affect most window tinting consumers. Nonetheless, its crucial to bear in mind. All states enact reflectivity standards on window tinting. This is to ensure there are no mirror-like surfaces on windows to potentially cause hazardous situations. While some states outright ban any reflectivity, some states cap it as high as 25%. If you feel the need to install a mirror-like film on your vehicle, be sure it’s done in accordance with state laws in order to avoid traffic stops.
4 – Film Certification and Identification Standards:
In some states, it is required for all film sold and installed to be certified by the state. Further, other states enact policies requiring stickers designating legal film to be placed on designated areas of the vehicle. First, it’s necessary to check your specific state laws on whether this is required where you live. If it is, it’s vital to ensure that your tinting company provides both. In some cases, failing to install certified/legal film where required can void a manufacturers warranty. It also can warrant fines from law enforcement. If you live in a state where this is required, take the necessary steps to ensure you are on the right side of the law when it comes to certified film.
5 – Medical Exemptions:
In many states, medical exemptions are available for those with an official doctor’s recommendation. This may apply to patients who are in need of additional heat protection or vision aide. The most sensible thing to do if you believe you may qualify for a medical tinting exemption is to contact either your physician or law enforcement.
6 – Windshield Tinting Regulations
Windshield tinting is another area covered on state law books. Some states allow for tinting on the top-most several inches of your windshield. Others allow drivers to install film down to the manufacturer’s AS1 line. It is essential that you understand where your state stands on windshield tinting issues. This is sometimes an area where medical exemptions may be granted.
It is worthwhile to take several minutes to familiarize yourself with the window tinting laws in the state where you live. Isn’t it worth a few minutes to know that you’ll avoid potential traffic stops, citations and fines? If you are uncertain about something, it is always best to double-check with your local law enforcement. More than that, always make sure that film is applied safely to your vehicle at all times.