Window Film and the Law


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 (7)
  • 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.

  • Logan Brown

    I wish there would be as bad of a crack down on window tint yet. I just had my windows tinted a and I don’t want to get a ticket for it.

  • m³shelly

    In Wisconsin, the law is written in a way that I can buy a truck or SUV with darker rear tint than I can install as a Suntek installer. Crazy.

    In the early 1990s (showing my age) we (myself and a local classic car club) lobbied WI legislature to change our tint laws (yes, I’ve been tinting cars since 1989!). The laws were initially written to technically allow nothing, not even clear film, on the front two roll-down windows.

    The lawmakers promised to change that, and they did. They said they would change the law to 35%, on all windows except the windshield. They did not keep that promise, and now our laws limit us to 35% on all rear windows, and 50% on the front two. Yes, better than zero, but not quite as nice for appearance as 35%.

    We certainly don’t have the problems as southern states with sunlight, but we still see considerable fading on the top of rear seats, etc. Most installs I do here are for appearance only, although I typically remind my customers of many of the other benefits they’re receiving, along with a much nicer looking vehicle (if I have the time, at least).

  • Window Tint Jackson

    Window tint jackson,, is a window tinting service serving Jackson Mississippi and just came accross this article. It is very informative and well written. Although it seems confusing as to why windows can’t be tinted with complete darkening shades of tint, it can cause dangerous situations, causing glares and the inability to full see out of the windows along with others not being able to see inside in the front of the windows. Though some states are different, all are aimed at protecting both the driver from dangerous UV rays, as well as the glare that can be damaging and difficult to see. Very well writting article, I appreciate the time taken on this article and the highly informed content.

  • Window Tinting Abbotsford

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    Your car could sometimes creates more warmth than usual, it’s happens because UV rays increases the heat, with a Tint you could decrease the harmful UV rays by 99% and if you are looking to have window tinting, windshield protection, paint-protection in Abbotsford, then I’m gonna give you a link to my website and where you can a have free quote or you could directly call to us, we would be happy to assist you. ( 236-300-9096 )

  • Mitch Bratton

    As a law enforcement officer, I seldom issue tickets for tint. However, not being able to see the occupants of a vehicle when I approach it is very concerning. I appreciate the guys at Window Tint Memphis for obeying the local and state statutes.