Window tinting is a practice that countless vehicle owners have grown accustomed to. It’s one of the most common automobile enhancements today. And, if you’re living in an area that receives plenty of sun, it can be a necessity.
The main purpose of tinting car windows is to shield the driver and passengers from the sun’s harmful UV rays, but it has plenty of other benefits. Applying window tint can help reduce glare, increase privacy, and add aesthetic value to your vehicle. In fact, window tinting is an affordable technique to give your ride a more personalized look and feel. And for not a few people, the darker the tint; the better.
Despite these advantages, though, window tinting is illegal in some states. The majority of U.S. states have window tint laws that dictate how much tinting is allowed on the windows and windshield of a vehicle.
Window Tint Laws by State
Are you planning to have your car’s windows tinted? It’d be a smart idea to check your state’s window tinting laws before you proceed. Your local car glass service company should be able to fill you in about the window tinting regulations in your state.
In most states, you can tint your side and rear windows to a certain degree. However, you’re only allowed to tint the first few top inches of your windshield, until above the AS-1 line. Only the states of Ohio and North Dakota permit full-windshield tinting, but only if the visible light transmission is 70-percent or higher. This percentage pertains to the minimum amount of light that should pass through the car glass. Basically, the higher the percentage, the lighter the tint.
You can find detailed and up-to-date information about each state’s window tinting laws and restrictions here.
Exceptions to the Rule
States usually make exceptions to their window tint regulations for medical reasons. The law makes provisions for illnesses and health conditions that cause people to become sensitive to light and or have negative reactions towards UV radiation. For example, lupus and psoriasis.
If such is the case with you, you may apply a darker tint on your car’s windows than what is legally allowed, but make sure to keep a doctor’s note with you.
Why States Impose Tint Restrictions
Like all laws, these regulations are put in place for your safety and the safety of those around you. Thus, you must understand the reasons behind the restrictions on window tinting.
The first is visibility. Using a film that’s too dark, especially on the windshield, might impede vision and lead to road accidents. It can also make it difficult for law enforcers to look inside the vehicle, which can pose a danger to both the police officer and the vehicle’s occupants.
Law enforcement officers are aware of the level of window tinting that’s permissible in their respective states. Many of them also carry devices that can measure the amount of light getting into your windows. If you become pulled over since your tint is darker than allowed, you will be penalized and asked by the court to remove the illegal tint.
Varying Tint Restrictions from State to State
Window tinting laws differ by state. They can be nuanced, difficult to understand and make things complicated for people traveling out-of-state or relocating across the country.
When traveling outside state lines, you are subject to the laws of the state you’re currently in. And while some states provide tint law exemptions for visitors, others do not. You may be issued a repair order if you do not meet their tinting regulations, but you can contest the ticket.
Most of the time, though, you should be fine provided your window tint is within the restrictions of the state where your vehicle is registered.
Avoid Getting Pulled Over for Window Tint
Whether you need to have your car’s window tinted for health or aesthetic reasons, research the laws and requirements of your state first.
Most importantly, work with a car window tinting company that understands tinting standards and percentages, and how these can affect your safety and driving experience. Taking these simple steps will make you feel confident that your vehicle is not breaching any laws.