Tinted Window Restrictions

 

 police cruiser door

The tinting of windows on motor vehicles has increased in popularity over the past few years. The tinting is often added to reduce the amount of sunlight entering a vehicle but it is also being used for aesthetic purposes. However window tinting reduces the ability for police or emergency services personnel to see into a vehicle thus creating potential safety concerns.

 

The Police Department will strictly enforce the tinted window statutes. The motoring public who have or may be interested in tinted windows is encouraged to become educated on the law and to comply with the standards.

 

 

Regardless of the reasons for applying tint to windows there are some things that motor vehicle owners should consider:

 

  • The addition of window tinting reduces light transmission which can restrict a driver’s ability to see particularly at night.
  • Window tinting reduces the ability for police or emergency services personnel to see into a vehicle thus creating potential safety concerns.
  • The operation of a motor vehicle with illegally tinted windows as defined by the Code of Virginia could subject the driver to a traffic fine and the owner to possible Court ordered removal of the tint.

A summary of the Virginia state law as taken from sections 46.2-1052 & 46.2-1053 is as follows:

  • The tinting restrictions apply to any motor vehicle operated in the state of Virginia.
  • Any vehicle equipped with tinting must have both left and right side view mirrors.
  • Tinting on the rear side windows and the rear window(s) may not reduce the total light transmittance to less than 35 percent.
  • Tinting on the front side windows may not reduce the total light transmittance to less than 50 percent.
  • No tinting or sun shading films may be applied to any window of a motor vehicle that have a reflectance of light exceeding 20 percent or produce a “holographic or prism effect.”
  • No film or darkening material may be applied on the windshield except to replace the sun shield in the uppermost area as installed by the manufacturer of the vehicle.
  • Multipurpose passenger vehicles and pickup trucks have no restrictions on the level of tinting applied to rear side and rear windows provided the vehicle has left and right side view mirrors.
  • There are exemptions for medical reasons. (Section 46.02-1053)
  • Typically any tinting applied “at the factory” will comply with the state code.

In addition the following section of the state code pertains to any individual or business who installs illegal tinting material:

Any person or firm who applies or affixes to the windows of any motor vehicle in Virginia sun-shading or tinting films that (i) reduce the light transmittance to levels less than that allowed in subdivisions 1 and 2 of this subsection (ii) have a reflectance of light exceeding 20 percent or (iii) produce holographic or prism effects shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor for the first offense and of a Class 2 misdemeanor for any subsequent offense.

The Prince William County Police Department will continue to enforce state laws pertaining to tinted windows. Additional tint measuring devices are being issued to uniformed officers to assist with their enforcement of these laws.