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Auto Tinting Law in California

In 2023, the State of California has a few laws in place regarding window tinting carefully crafted to address important concerns: safeguarding the driver’s visibility and preserving the well-being of all passengers.

By setting standards for window tinting, California aims to strike a balance between style and safety. Adequate visibility is vital for the driver to navigate the roads with confidence, mitigating potential hazards. Simultaneously, these laws prioritize the health of passengers by limiting exposure to harmful UV rays, minimizing the risk of skin damage and other adverse health effects. Through these meticulous regulations, California strives to create a harmonious environment where road safety and passenger well-being intertwine.

Here are the key points you need to know:

Tint Darkness

California has some of the strictest window tint laws in the country. For tint darkness, the law states that the front windshield and front side window tint’s Visible Light Transmission (VLT) must be above 70%. This means that at least 70% of the visible light must be able to pass through the tint film and the glass. The rear and back side windows, on the other hand, can be any darkness as long as the vehicle has dual side mirrors in place. Dual side mirrors help to compensate for the reduced visibility that can occur with darkly tinted rear windows.

There are a few reasons why California has such strict window tint laws. One reason is safety. Darkly tinted windows can make it difficult for drivers to see out of their vehicles, which can increase the risk of accidents. Another reason is law enforcement. Darkly tinted windows can make it difficult for law enforcement officers to see inside vehicles, which can make it more difficult to identify suspects or contraband.

Windshield Requirements

In most states, including California, you can only tint the top 4-5 inches of your front windshield. This is because the law requires drivers to have an unobstructed view of the sky. This is important for a number of reasons, including:

  • Checking for traffic: Being able to see the sky helps drivers to see the position of the sun, which can be helpful for judging the position of oncoming traffic.
  • Looking out for birds: Birds are often difficult to see against a dark background, so being able to see the sky can help drivers to spot them and avoid collisions.

The law also prohibits tinting the AS-1 line, which is a faint line that is etched into the windshield about 4-5 inches from the top. This line marks the height of the uppermost portion of the windshield that is required to be clear for safety reasons.

If you are considering tinting your front windshield, it is important to be aware of the law and to make sure that you do not tint the AS-1 line or more than 4-5 inches of the windshield.

Tint Reflection

Reflective window tints are popular among car owners because they offer a number of benefits. They can help to keep the car’s interior cool, reduce glare, and provide privacy. Additionally, they can give the car a sleek and stylish appearance.

However, it is important to note that reflective window tints can also make it difficult for drivers to see out of their vehicles at night. Therefore, it is important to choose a tint that has a high Visible Light Transmission (VLT) rating, which indicates how much light can pass through the tint.

The amount of reflection is also regulated by California Tint Laws. According to this law, automobile tinting should not be any more reflective than a standard window.

This means that the front windshield, as well as the front and back side windows, can only reflect 25% of the light that hits them. This is to ensure that drivers have adequate visibility while driving, especially at night. If the tint is too reflective, it can make it difficult to see out of the vehicle, which can increase the risk of accidents.

The rear side windows and rear window can have any reflectivity, as long as the vehicle has dual side mirrors. This is because the rear side mirrors provide drivers with a view of what is behind them, even if the rear windows are tinted.

Colored Tints

California laws have now also prohibited the use of red, yellow, and amber window tints on all vehicle windows. This is because these colors can be seen as a safety hazard, as they can make it difficult for drivers to see out of their vehicles. Color-altering film of any kind is no longer allowed to be used on any automobile window.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, red tint is allowed on the top 4 inches of the windshield, as long as it does not interfere with the driver’s visibility. Additionally, amber tint is allowed on the side marker lights and taillights.

Exceptions to the Rule

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you have a medical condition that requires window tinting for extra protection from the sun’s rays, then you may be exempt from these regulations and be allowed to have your windows tinted darker.

To qualify for an exemption, you will need to obtain a medical exemption letter from a licensed physician. The letter must state that you have a medical condition that requires window tinting for extra protection from the sun’s rays. The letter must also specify the darkness of the tint that you are requesting.

Once you have obtained the medical exemption letter, you will need to submit it to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV will review the letter and, if they approve your request, they will issue you a window tint exemption permit.

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