Window tint is regulated by law.
Window tint helps keep a car cool. Window tint makes a car look cool. Window tint protects your eyes and skin from excessive light. Window tint protects your privacy from haters, busybodies, and miscellaneous nuisances. Window tint may also help conceal weapons or illegal activities from the police, so the amount of window tint that’s allowed is regulated by law.
Each state and province has different laws about window tint. In some states, visitors may be required to remove excessive window tint or given a ticket. Some states recognize medical exemptions for people who are allowed to have extra window tint due to conditions like lupus or melanoma.
How do you find out how much window tint you’re allowed to add?
Generally, the confusion about window tint is self-limited. Manufacturers ship vehicles to new car lots with legal amounts of window tint. Local window tint installers add legal amounts of window tint according to the laws that apply to them and you. Vehicle owners aren’t required to think very much about window tint.
But if you buy window tinting kits online, you need to find out what’s legal for your state or province. Reputable sources of do-it-yourself window tint should provide that information on their web sites.
* Here’s a state-by-state charted summary for the U.S.: http://tintlaws.com/ .
* Here’s a recent comparison of province-by-province laws in Canada: http://driving.ca/chrysler/300/auto-news/news/the-dark-side-of-tinted-windows .
* Here’s an overview of the current laws in Mexico:
http://www.sura.com/blogs/autos/vidrios-polarizados-lo-que-hay-que-hacer.aspx . (Google Chrome offers an automatic translation into English.)
Basically, vehicle windows must allow some light to pass through. For example, in Alabama, you’re allowed to cover the top six inches of a car windshield, and 32% of light has to be able to pass through the rest of the windows. Ontario and Newfoundland leave it to the police officer’s discretion whether a vehicle has enough window tint to deserve a ticket.
Variations in state laws make this a matter of dispute. In Virginia, front side windows have to allow 50% of light to pass through, although rear windows can allow only 35% of light to pass through. In the District of Columbia, front side windows have to allow 70% of light to pass through, rear windows 50%. In the surrounding states of Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, all side and rear windows need to allow only 35% of light to pass through. In Kentucky, front side windows have to allow 35% of light to pass through, and rear windows have to aow only 18% of light to pass through.
Obviously, lots of people from Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Kentucky drive into D.C. and Virginia; lots of people from Virginia drive into D.C. It would be unreasonable and un-neighborly for Virginia and D.C. police to write tickets when visitors’ vehicles are completely legal in their home states.
It would not, however, be unknown. A Tennessee newspaper recently printed a column by a new grandfather who claimed that, knowing that his Tennessee car was a bit too lightproof for Virginia, he took care to drive in an especially law-abiding way when visiting the grandchild in a southern Virginia tourist town. Nevertheless, he was pulled over and issued a ticket for excessive window tint alone. Then business owners in the Virginia tourist town wonder why revenues from tourism are down.
Some states, like Georgia and Vermont, offer state medical exemption forms for those who need more window tinting than is normally allowed. (Vermont normally allows no extra window tint.) In other states, it’s usually possible to avoid a ticket by carrying in the darkened vehicle a letter from a doctor specifying the condition for which extra protection from light is necessary, the amount of tint recommended, the duration of this “prescription,” and the vehicles to which it applies.
So, how much window tint should you add?
Check the current information for the places you frequently visit. If you live in Maryland and work in D.C., the simplest plan is to comply with D.C. law. If you don’t qualify for a medical exemption, unfortunately, the laws of places you visit may apply to you.
[SOURCE OF ANECDOTE: http://priscillaking.blogspot.com/2013/06/top-tourism-tip-for-gate-city-virginia.html ]