UK Window Tinting Laws
The UK Window Tinting Laws Say:
- * As the driver of a car in the UK you must not drive with excessively tinted side or front windows, if you do so your car could become illegal. To drive with excessively tinted side and front windows would potential invalidate your insurance.
- * The tinting laws do not apply to your rear window, see below for clarification regarding when this particular rule applies.
- * Tinting companies are not allowed to offer (by law) parts that when fitted would cause your vehicle to not comply with Construction & Use Regulations.
- * You need to check Construction & Use Regulations before selling a car that you are not passing it on with illegal window tint percentage allowance.
Does The Law Apply To All Windows In A Car?
Certain laws apply to the front windows and windscreen when tinting your car. No laws apply to tint fitted on the rear windows and rear windscreen.
The Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986 specify the minimum levels of light that must pass through the windscreen and front side windows. The limits are:
Motor Vehicles first used before 1 April 1985:
The windscreen and front side windows must allow at least 70% of light to be transmitted through them.
Motor Vehicles first used on or after 1 April 1985:
The light transmitted through the windscreen must be at least 75%.The front side windows must allow at least 70% of light to be transmitted through them.
Please download the VOSA Guide to tinted windows for more information.
The amount of light passing through a window is measured by VLT (Visible Light Transmission), here is an overview of the legal requirements.
- Windshields - must be over 75% VLT
- Front side windows - at least 70% VLT (not blocking more than 30% of light)
- Back side windows - no restriction on VLT
- Rear window - same as back side windows, there is no restriction on VLT
So Which Windows In Your Car Are Affected By The Law?
The UK window tinting laws apply to your side windows and windscreen. The law is concerned with limited visibility especially when driving at night or in dark conditions where tinting your windows may affect your ability to drive safely or from other road users or pedestrians being able to confirm eye contact with you because the tint is too dark for them to see and therefore creating unnecessarily hazardous conditions which could lead to an accident or collision.
MOT Testing Does Not Include Window Tint Evaluation
A small percentage out of the 24 million vehicles tested at random every year fail to comply with window tinting regulations. If every garage in the UK had to purchase the correct equipment and incorporate the tests into each MOT then testing fees would need to increase for all vehicles tested to cover the additional time and equipment cost to the garage.
Therefore the UK government have decided a much more effective and fair method of enforcement is via road side testing which is fairer upon motorists in general when compared to the complications brought in by having every single car tested during it's MOT.
UK Tinting Law Penalties
Law enforcement such as the Police or DVSA use a tool called a photometer to measure the VLT of your window tinting and the most likely punishment is an EFPN notice (Enforceable Fixed Penalty Notice) which is usually 3 points on your driving license and a £60 fine.
You may also receive a DPN (Delayed Prohibition Notice) or Rectification Notice (RN) if your tint is particularly dark typically allowing 30% of light to pass but still illegal. Under such circumstances you may be allowed up to 10 days to remove the illegal tint and provide evidence to the Police at a later date from the charge (up to 10 days).
If your window tint is extreme and therefore allowing less than 30% VLT you could received a Prohibition Notice which means you will have to stop using your vehicle until your vehicle complies with UK window tinting laws. Failure to do this can result in being prosecuted for driving a non-roadworthy vehicle and a court appearance coupled with a fine and further costs for legal proceedings.
Other Considerations For UK Window Tinting and the Law
Do not sell your vehicle with illegal window tint on it. To do so can result in prosecution from Trading Standards or the Police.
If you do tint your car windows then you really should notify your insurance company as it is considered a vehicle modification and has the potential to affect any future claims you may make. Accidents that occur during bad visibility or low light conditions where window tint is involved could result in the window tinting being blamed for the accident due to careless driving, please ensure that you tint your windows within the law and consider all implications of doing so before changes are made.
As already mentioned in this article window tint VLT is not measured during an MOT and could therefore pass an MOT test despite being illegal on the road.