Window tint can make vehicles look sharp, provide some privacy for the driver and passengers while on the road, and keeps the inside of the vehicle cool on hot summer days. Tint comes in many forms, blocking from as little as 10% to much as 95% of light from entering the vehicle. The more light that is blocked from entering the vehicle the less transparent the tint becomes and harder it is to see into the vehicle. Many trucks and sport utility vehicles arrive at the dealership with the rear windows tinted, and many private shops offer window tinting services. Is it legal to operate a vehicle in Pennsylvania with window tint?
It really depends. There are two statutes that govern the matter. The first is found in Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code, at 75 Pa.C.S.A.§ 4524(e), titled Windshield Obstructions and Wipers, that states, “no person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sun screening device or other material which does not permit a person to see or view the inside of the vehicle through the windshield, side wing, or side window of the vehicle.” Operating in compliance with this statute alone would allow tint on every window, including the windshield, as long as it was transparent enough to see through. The inquiry doesn’t end there, however.
The second statute at play is 75 Pa.C.S.A. §4107, titled Unlawful Activities, which makes it unlawful to operate a vehicle in Pennsylvania “which is not equipped as required under department regulations or when the driver is in violation of department regulations.” Accordingly, vehicles in Pennsylvania must comply with PennDOT regulations. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Regulations relating to sunscreening devices are found at 67 Pa.Code chapter 175, et. seq. These regulations prohibit use of sunscreening devices that do not permit a person to see into the vehicle (the same standard as the first law discussed) but also incorporate Table X into the specific requirements of the vehicle. Table X, listed below, shows the minimum acceptable light transmittance levels for window tinting. These figures demonstrate that a minimum of 70% of light must be permitted to transmit into the particular windows for vehicles subject to the regulation.
|Front Side||Rear Side|
|Vehicle Type||Windshield||Windows/Wings||Windows/Wings||Rear Window|
|Pre-1998 Passenger Cars||70%||70%||70%||VESC-20*|
|1998 & Newer Passenger Cars||70%||70%||70%||70%|
|Trucks & Multi-Purpose
|70%||70%||No Requirement||No Requirement|
|Medium/Heavy Trucks & Buses||70%||70%||No Requirement||No Requirement|
|All Other Vehicles||70%||70%||No Requirement||No Requirement|
Certain vehicles are exempt from these regulations, and defenses are available you are charged with any violation relating to window tint. Anytime you are charged or cited you should seek one of the experienced attorneys at the Mazza Law Group before responding to the citation. We may be able to save you from having to pull the tint off of your vehicle or incur costly increases in insurance premiums.