Common Tint Laws Automotive
Automotive tint laws can be generally broken down into 4 basic rule types:
1) “Back Half” anything behind the driver, nothing beside the driver
2) “Moderate” medium all around, or medium with lighter film up front
3) “All” tint any way you want, there is no law
4) “Nothing” no tint or very light film all around the car
The “Back Half” law is in effect in our home state of California. Windows behind the driver (behind the “B” pillar) can be tinted as dark as you want but anything beside the driver must be clear or have no film at all. This law format is also in effect throughout most of Europe. Some law enforcement agencies prefer "Back Half" for its easy to enforce appearance, because it's easy to see if the front windows are tinted or not.
The “Moderate” law allows tinting next to the driver, but limits the light transmission in both the front and rear parts of the car. This approach is used in many states where they recognize the solar energy and safety benefits of window film. The light transmission is limited (usually based on NET VLT) to a level that regional lawmakers set based on input from various sources. One of these sources is often a regional trade association. This approach is often chosen as a balance of social needs (people want their cars tinted) and law enforcement wants (being able to see into the vehicle).
“Nothing” set of laws either prohibits film altogether and/or limit the light transmission to such a high level that the glass maintains a completely clear appearance. This is the law in a few of the northern states, and strangely, in a few countries in the Middle East. Unfortunately, this law either limits consumers to only the most expensive and least durable films, or it ignores the benefits of solar control film completely.
“All” laws allow any type of tint all the way around the vehicle. This usually occurs in an area that for one reason or another, has no current law governing window tinting. There are few areas here in the U.S. that fall into this group.
Each of these general auto tint laws have numerous conditions so it's important to understand the actual laws that cover your region. You can get direction from your trade association, but the best source is to pull a copy of the law (most are available on the internet). We recommend keeping a copy in your shop to use as a reference when discussing tint options with customers.
Every local government has a different name for the codebook or agency that writes automotive tint laws.
Places to ask include:
• Government office that issues drivers licences
• Local police department