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Window Tint Laws

Window Tint Test

Window Tint Laws and Enforcement

Many states and even counties have laws that limit the amount of window tinting allowed on a vehicle. Some limit only the front windows, some all of them. Nationally, it is illegal to tint the major viewing portion of the windshield on a motor vehicle.

These laws often change as does their enforcement. In some areas of California, for instance, while the state law mandates a maximum amount of allowed tint, this is ignored by local police for whatever reason.

Some vehicles are exempt from tinting law requirements. Government, diplomatic, and similar vehicles are usually exempt from nearly all vehicle safety laws.

How Window Tint Laws Are Enforced

Most tint laws have a specific gradient or percentage of tint allowed. So a window tint of 32% would mean that the glass is allowed to be darkened by 32% more than its 100% clear base line. This is often translated to Visual Light Transmission numbers, so a 32% darkening would result in a VLT of 68%.

Enforcement is often by the policeman's perception - generally the case with lower-budget police forces and where breaking the window tint law results in a "fix it" ticket by default. In these cases, the vehicle's owner can have a test done to prove the tint meets standards under the law and have the ticket rescinded.

Some police forces, especially in urban areas where the law is often an issue, are issued tint meters. These are simple devices that can be coupled over a partially rolled-down window and that read the opacity of the window to give a reading. In this case, a "fix it" ticket is rarely issued and a fine will often be given instead.

Window Tint Laws in Your State

Every state is different and there are 50 of them in the whole of the United States, so a listing of all state laws is impractical. The following are select, populous states with window tint laws. Most states restrict tint coloration to brown, gray, or black and do not allow red, blue, or yellow tinting.

California - Measured in Visible Light Transmission % and enforcement is only for the windshield and front side windows. Windshield is allowed tint on the first four inches (top down) and nowhere else. Side windows are required to be at least 70% VLT.

Florida - Enforcement is on all vehicular windows. The windshield is allowed tinting down to the manufacturer's AS-1 line (about 3-5 inches down). Front side windows must allow 28% of light in and back side and rear windows must allow 15% of light in (VLT of 72% and 85% respectively).

New York - Enforcement is on all windows except rear window (back glass). Windshield may have any non-reflective tinting on the first 6 inches (top down). Front and rear side windows are allowed up to 70% VLT.

Texas - Enforcement is on all windows except the rear (backglass). Windshields are allowed any non-reflective tint above the manufacturer's AS-1 line. Front and rear side windows must allow more than 25% of light in (75% VLT).