Illegal Window Tinting (the UK law)

Like any serious matter, the government corresponds with intervening laws to regulate it for the benefit of the majority. Did you know that the UK is serious when it comes to vehicle tinting? Here is everything you have to know about UK’s law on tinted vehicle windows.

What is the rule?

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Basically, the tinting law states that front windscreens and front side windows depend on when the vehicle was first used. If the vehicle was first used on April 1, 1985, then the required percentage of the darkness of the tint should be at least 75% of light through and the front side windows must let at least 70% of light through.

But, if the car was first used before April 1, 1985, the front windscreen and front side windows must both let at least 70% of light through.

Why are there window tinting rules?

The rationale for this passing of this law is actually simple: dark tints restrict visibility in poor light conditions, meaning that you might not see other road users as well as you would with a clear window.

The risk is greatest when you are driving at night. Imagine driving at night with sunglasses on. Numbers say that tinted cars can greatly contribute to road accidents, especially at night. The darker the tint is, the more it can affect and impair the vision of the driver, by which the probability of accidents may rise.

To address this issue, the government enacted a law that would protect both those who is seated behind the wheel and the pedestrians, as well as the property the driver may damage or hurt.

This law is enforced with increasing thoroughness by the Police and by VOSA, who carry measuring equipment to check how much light can pass through a tinted window.

What are the Implications?

It’s illegal to fit or sell glass (or a vehicle already fitted with glass) that breaks the rules on tinted windows. Hence, even businesses are also liable by this law, not the drivers alone.

How is the tint measured by percentage?

The authorities, the driver and the Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) who serve as vehicle examiners use light measuring equipment to measure window tint.

What’s The Penalty?

If your front side windows or windscreen are found to be too heavily tinted, you are committing an offense. You can be issued with an Endorseable Fixed Penalty Notice (EFPN) – meaning your license will be endorsed with 3 points, plus you will be served a £60 fine.

But, if your windows are illegally tinted but close to the legal limit, it is possible you might be let off with a vehicle defect rectification notice, which requires you to have the tint removed and provide evidence that this has been done to a police station

The biggest safety risk with tinted windows comes when driving at night. Tinted windows can be used as evidence towards a charge of careless or dangerous driving, which can further intensify the driver’s penalties or sentences.

This law doesn’t apply to rear windows, including the back windscreen. Remember, all of this only applies to front side windows, that is the driver’s door and front passenger door.

My car tints don’t follow the law, what should I do?

illegal to legal

Image from Pixabay

If you have had your car’s windows tinted (to a legal level) you should inform your insurance company, as they are likely to consider this to be a modification to your car. Failure to inform your insurance company of modifications can lead to future claims being invalidated.

If you have bought a second hand car with tinted windows and you think the windows may be too heavily tinted, you should:

  • Have it removed and replaced with a more appropriate, law abiding percentage of tint;
  • Take it to a tinting company or MOT center and ask their opinion, or;
  • Contact yournearest VOSA test center and rest your case. They will test the level of tints for you and instruct you what your next best move should be.