Window Film and the Law

window-tinting-meter

Window film is universally recognized as an amazing energy efficiency tool. It has also been recommended as a way of blocking dangerous ultraviolet light from beaming onto an unsuspecting person. Given those positive statements, it seems rather confusing that there are laws restricting the use of window film. With all of its benefits, why are there any limitations?

There apparently is no problem at all with the window film on the glass of residential homes or office buildings. The problem seems to arise with the window film or tint on the windows of cars, and there are number of reasons for this being the case. There is a possibility of criminal activity going on in a car that’s heavily tinted but safety is the more pressing issue. If the tint of the window film is too dark a driver has difficulty viewing traffic, thus increasing the potential for accidents.

This conversation is, of course, a two way street. The trucking industry has expressed concerns about glare from the sun reducing the ability of truck drivers to see the road ahead. The US Department Transportation is allowing the trucking industry to use window film in order to promote better safety for trucking, but there still are some issues. The majority of cars being made today come with window tinting on them. States vary in the requirements that have for window film and it will come as no surprise that southern states will allow higher levels of sun blocking. The new cars with tinted glass may or may not be in compliance with the laws of a given state and a car owner may unknowingly be in violation of statute. It also has to be considered that window film does block ultraviolet rays which can cause melanoma or aid in the development of cataracts. Somewhere a consistent position for window film has to be created that offers protection for both passengers and drivers, and at the same time doesn’t accidentally violate local law.

The International Window Film Association has recommended model legislation that can address the problem of inhibiting vision, and the same time allow for sensible levels of tinting to be permitted. The model includes what type of colors may not be permitted and that tinting film only be used on the top of the windshield. The importance of adopting a standard is to prevent the above-mentioned situations where a car or truck driver unknowingly violates the law in a given state. The Association is in full agreement with the need to enforce any law regarding window film, and is willing to loan light meters for training purposes to any law enforcement agency.

States have their own unique laws regarding window film. It’s a good idea for any auto owner to investigate those laws prior to putting any window film on the car or truck being driven. The irony is that while there is a concern that auto window film will shelter shady dealings, residential and office window film are considered deterrents to burglary. Hopefully, the model legislation will be considered seriously and efforts will be made at the local level to develop a uniform law that will fairly apply in all 50 states.

Comments (2)
  • Tint King

    The law is really starting to crack down on illegal tint now. I am guessing it is most likely due to budget cuts and they are really looking for lost revenues.

  • SuperColossal

    70% light transmittance is not the standard in Pennsylvania. In fact, 70% light transmittance is expressly rejected (See, 67 PaCS 175.67(d)(4)). The law in PA merely requires that tint does not prevent a person from viewing the inside of the vehicle. (See, 75 PaCS 4524(e)(1). Don’t let the cops or local magistrate push you around. Fight them. You can win it on appeal because the higher courts understand and uphold the law as written.