Window tinting standards in Texas are not just an added layer of regulation but a critical aspect of vehicle safety and compliance. These standards, detailed in the Texas Administrative Code, Title 37, Part 1, Rule 21.3, govern the application of sunscreening devices on various windows of a vehicle.
Let’s delve into the specifics to ensure a clear understanding of what is permissible under Texas law.
Windshield Tint Limitations
The windshield, being a crucial component for visibility, has specific conditions for applying sunscreening devices. These devices must be above the AS-1 line, and if there is no AS-1 line, they must end five inches below the top of the windshield.
Importantly, these devices cannot be red, amber, or blue. When combined with the original glass, the light transmittance value must be 25% or more, and the luminous reflectance value must be 25% or less.
A clear (untinted) UV film is permitted on the front windshield without a medical exemption.
Side Windows to The Right and Left of The Driver
Sunscreening devices can be applied to these side windows if they have a light transmittance value of 25% or more and a luminous reflectance value of 25% or less when measured in combination with the original glass.
Side Windows to The Rear of The Driver
Unlike side windows to the right and left of the driver, these windows are exempted from regulation under the Texas Transportation Code.
Rear Window Tinting Rules
The rear window’s tinting rules vary based on whether the vehicle is equipped with outside mirrors. If mirrors are present, there are no restrictions on sunscreening devices applied to the rear window. If mirrors are absent, the same standards as side windows apply—25% or more light transmittance and 25% or less luminous reflectance.
Window Tint Exemptions
Several exemptions exist, including law enforcement vehicles, vehicles used for passenger transport (taxis, limousines, and buses), and a medical exception for individuals with specific medical conditions.
Medical Tint Exception
Motorists requiring darker tint due to a medical condition must obtain a signed medical exemption statement from a licensed physician or optometrist. This statement must identify the driver or occupant of the vehicle and state that equipping the vehicle with sunscreening devices is necessary for the health of the individual. As of January 1, 2019, the Texas Department of Public Safety no longer issues Window Tint Exemption Certificates.
Can Window Tinting Affect the Outcome of a Car Accident Claim in Texas?
Yes, window tinting can potentially impact the outcome of a car accident claim in Texas. While legal window tinting that adheres to state regulations typically should not affect a driver’s visibility and, subsequently, a car accident claim, illegal tinting might pose complications.
Legal Framework in Texas
- Fault-Based System: Texas follows a fault-based system, holding the at-fault driver responsible for damages resulting from a car accident.
- Types of Damages: Damages in a car accident claim can include physical pain, medical expenses, emotional distress, loss of income, and various other factors.
- Contributory Fault Law: Texas has a modified contributory fault law, where a victim cannot receive damages if they are more than 50% at fault for their injuries.
- Proportionate Responsibility Law: Compensation is reduced based on the victim’s level of fault when they are less than 51% at fault.
Impact of Window Tinting
- Legal Tinting: Legal window tinting, which meets state regulations, is unlikely to impact visibility and, therefore, should not significantly affect a car accident claim.
- Illegal Tinting: If it can be proven that illegal window tinting played a role in the cause of the car accident, it might lead to complications in the claims process.
Considering the potential complexities introduced by factors like window tinting, seeking legal advice is crucial. Consulting with a car accident lawyer before engaging with insurance adjusters ensures a better understanding of your rights and the potential impact of window tinting on your claim.
Vehicle Operation and Window Tint Label
Motorists must present the signed medical exemption statement during the annual inspection and keep it in the vehicle to show an officer in case of a traffic stop.
Additionally, vehicles with sunscreening devices must have a label indicating compliance with Texas Transportation Code Chapter 547. This label is required on the rearmost, bottom corner of the driver’s side window, and is optional on the passenger side.
Understanding and adhering to these window tinting standards is not only essential for legal compliance but also contributes to overall road safety. As Texas drivers, staying informed about these regulations ensures a smooth and trouble-free driving experience.
Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Car Window Tint Laws
What are the legal requirements for windshield tinting in Texas?
In Texas, windshields must allow at least 70% of outdoor light to enter the vehicle. Tinted windshields must also have a luminous reflectance level not exceeding 25%, and the use of red, amber, and blue tints is strictly prohibited.
Can the entire front windshield be tinted in Texas?
Yes, the entire front windshield can be filmed with a “clear” untinted film that does not visibly alter or color the glass in natural daylight.
Additionally, a visor strip is allowed at the top of the front windshield, as long as it does not fall below the AS-1 line or exceeds five inches from the top if no AS-1 line is present.
What are the regulations for side window tinting in non-commercial vehicles?
The front two doors must have a net visible light transmission of at least 25%. There are no darkness restrictions on windows located behind the front two doors, provided the vehicle is equipped with side view mirrors.
Are there exemptions to Texas car window tint laws?
Yes, exemptions exist for certain vehicles, including law enforcement vehicles, those used for passenger transport (taxis, limousines, and buses), and vehicles with a medical exception due to specific health conditions.
How can I obtain a medical exemption for window tinting?
Motorists requiring a medical exception must obtain a signed statement from a licensed physician or optometrist. This statement should identify the driver or occupant, stating that the use of sunscreening devices is necessary for health reasons.
Is there a specific label required for vehicles with window tinting?
Yes, vehicles with sunscreening devices must have a label indicating compliance with Texas Transportation Code Chapter 547. This label is required on the rearmost, bottom corner of the driver’s side window, and is optional on the passenger side.
What are the penalties for violating Texas car window tint laws?
Both drivers and film installers may face fines of up to $1,000 for non-compliance with tinting laws. It’s crucial to adhere to these regulations to avoid legal consequences.