Washington Car Window Tinting Laws – 2023 New Car Tint Laws in WA

Washington Car Window Tinting Laws : Window tinting is a popular automotive modification that offers a range of benefits, from enhanced privacy and reduced glare to protection against UV rays. However, each state has its own set of regulations governing the darkness of window tints to ensure road safety and law enforcement visibility. In Washington state, window tinting laws are designed to balance personalization with road safety concerns. This comprehensive guide sheds light on the intricacies of Washington window tinting laws, providing a comprehensive understanding for vehicle owners and enthusiasts alike.

Understanding Window Tinting:

Window tinting involves applying a thin film to the windows of a vehicle. This film can alter the amount of light that passes through, providing varying levels of privacy, UV protection, and heat reduction. However, excessive tinting can compromise visibility for both the driver and law enforcement officers, hence the need for regulations.

Washington Window Tinting Laws:

To maintain road safety while accommodating personalization preferences, Washington state has established specific guidelines for permissible window tint darkness. Here’s a breakdown of these regulations:

Window Tint Darkness Guidelines for Sedans in WA: 

  • Windshield: Non-reflective tint is permitted on the top 6 inches of the windshield.
  • Front Side Windows: These windows must permit more than 24% of incoming light.
  • Back Side Windows: The tint on these windows should allow more than 24% of light to pass through.
  • Rear Window: Tint on the rear window must also allow more than 24% of light transmission.

Window Tint Darkness Guidelines for SUVs and Vans:

  • Windshield: Non-reflective tint can be applied to the upper 6 inches of the windshield.
  • Front Side Windows: These windows must allow more than 24% of light to penetrate.
  • Back Side Windows: Any level of tint darkness is permissible on these windows.
  • Rear Window: Similarly, there are no specific restrictions on tint darkness for the rear window of SUVs and vans.

Window tint reflection in Washington

Window tinting serves to diminish glare and heat by reflecting incoming light to a certain extent.

It’s crucial to note that Washington’s window tinting regulations also encompass the allowable level of window reflection, and this aspect demands attention.

Reflection Specifications for Sedans in WA:

  • Front Side Windows: The permissible level of reflection on these windows must not exceed 35%.
  • Back Side Windows: Similar to the front side windows, the reflection from the tint on these windows must remain below 35%.

Reflection Specifications for SUVs and Vans in WA:

  • Front Side Windows: For SUVs and vans, the window tint on the front side windows should not exhibit more than 35% reflection.
  • Back Side Windows: Similarly, the reflection from the tint on the back side windows of SUVs and vans should also be limited to no more than 35%.

Additional Window Tint Rules and Regulations in Washington

Washington state enforces several significant laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to window tinting, each carrying its own importance. These include:

  1. Side Mirrors: If the back window of a vehicle is tinted, Washington law mandates the presence of dual side mirrors for adequate visibility.
  2. Restricted Colors: Yellow, red, and amber tints are not permitted by Washington state law. Only certain shades of tint are allowable.
  3. Certificates: Film manufacturers are required to certify the film they distribute within the state of Washington. It’s advisable to confirm with your dealer that they are using certified window tint film.
  4. Stickers: An identification sticker, indicating legal tinting, is required to be placed between the tint film and the glass on the driver’s side window.
  5. Medical Exceptions: Washington allows for medical exemptions to the standard window tint regulations. These exemptions are granted for individuals with specific medical conditions that necessitate special tinting.

Penalties for Non-Compliance: Violating Washington’s window tinting laws can result in fines and other consequences. Law enforcement officers can issue citations to vehicles with tinted windows that don’t meet the legal requirements. Fines vary based on the severity of the violation and local regulations.

Benefits of Legal Tinting: Adhering to Washington’s window tinting laws offers several benefits:

  • Visibility: Legal tinting ensures clear visibility for both drivers and law enforcement officers, enhancing road safety.
  • Safety: Adequate visibility reduces the risk of accidents, especially in low-light conditions.
  • Legal Compliance: Complying with the law prevents fines, citations, and the hassle of rectifying violations.

1. How Much Does a Washington Window Tint Ticket Cost? The cost of a window tint ticket in Washington can vary based on factors such as the specific violation, the location where the ticket was issued, and the discretion of law enforcement. Generally, fines for window tint violations can range from around $136 to $228 or more. It’s recommended to check with local authorities or the Washington State Department of Licensing for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding window tint violation penalties.

2. How Do You File for a Window Tint Medical Exemption in Washington? To file for a window tint medical exemption in Washington, you typically need to follow these steps:

  • Contact the Washington State Department of Licensing or visit their official website to find the necessary forms and guidelines for applying for a medical exemption for window tinting.
  • Obtain a medical certificate or letter from a licensed medical professional that explains your specific medical condition and the need for window tinting due to health reasons. The medical documentation should clearly state the nature of the medical condition and why the exemption is necessary.
  • Complete the required application form for the medical exemption. This form may ask for personal information, details about your medical condition, and the type of window tinting required.
  • Attach the medical certificate or letter to the application form.
  • Submit the completed application and documentation to the Washington State Department of Licensing as per their instructions. This might involve submitting the application in person, by mail, or online, depending on their procedures.
  • The department will review your application and medical documentation to determine whether you qualify for a medical exemption from the window tinting regulations. If approved, they will provide you with a certificate or a decal indicating your exemption.

3. Medical Exemptions for Window Tint Rules in Washington Medical exemptions for window tint rules in Washington allow individuals with specific medical conditions to use tinted windows beyond the standard legal limits. These exemptions are typically granted for health conditions that require limited sun exposure or heightened sensitivity to light.

4. Legal Window Tint Certificates in Washington If you are granted a medical exemption for window tinting in Washington, you will likely receive a certificate or a decal from the Washington State Department of Licensing. This certificate should be displayed on your vehicle to demonstrate that you have been granted an exemption and are compliant with the tinting regulations.

5. Window Tint Violation Penalties in Washington Violating window tint regulations in Washington can lead to fines and other penalties. Law enforcement officers can issue citations for vehicles with non-compliant window tint. Fines can vary based on the severity of the violation and local regulations.

6. What Does VLT Mean According to Washington State Law? VLT stands for “Visible Light Transmission.” According to Washington state law, VLT refers to the percentage of visible light that is allowed to pass through both the window glass and the window tint film. The legal VLT percentage varies depending on the specific window, such as front side windows, back side windows, and rear windows. For example, a minimum VLT of 24% is required for most windows, meaning at least 24% of visible light must be allowed to pass through the tint and the glass.

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Washington’s window tinting laws strike a balance between personalization and road safety. Adhering to these regulations helps create a safer driving environment for all road users while still allowing vehicle owners to enjoy the benefits of window tinting. Whether you’re considering tinting your windows for privacy or protection, understanding and following these laws is crucial. For precise information and updates, it’s recommended to consult official sources, such as the Washington State Department of Licensing or the Revised Code of Washington, before making any modifications to your vehicle’s window tinting.

FAQs about Washington’s window tinting laws

1. Is 35 Percent Tint Legal in Washington?

No, 35 percent tint is not legal for the front side windows (driver and passenger windows) in Washington. The state requires a minimum of 24 percent light transmission for these windows.

2. Is 30 Tint Legal in Washington?

No, 30 percent tint is not legal for the front side windows in Washington. The required minimum light transmission for front side windows is 24 percent.

3. Is 20% Tint Legal in Washington?

No, 20 percent tint is not legal for the front side windows in Washington. The legal minimum light transmission for these windows is 24 percent.

4. Is 15 Percent Tint Legal in Washington?

No, 15 percent tint is not legal for the front side windows in Washington. The state mandates a minimum light transmission of 24 percent for these windows.

5. Is 5% Tint Legal in Washington?

No, 5 percent tint (limo tint) is not legal for the front side windows in Washington. The front side windows must allow a minimum of 24 percent light transmission.

6. Where Can We Download Washington Window Tint Exemption Form?

You can typically download the Washington window tint exemption form from the official website of the Washington State Department of Licensing. The form is used for individuals seeking medical exemptions from the standard window tinting laws.

7. Does Car Insurance Cover Tinted Windows in Washington?

Car insurance generally does not specifically cover window tinting in Washington. However, if you have comprehensive coverage, it might cover the cost of repairing or replacing tinted windows if they are damaged due to covered events like accidents, vandalism, or severe weather.

8. Can You Get a Window Tint Ticket Dismissed in Washington?

It might be possible to get a window tint ticket dismissed in Washington if you can prove that your vehicle’s tint complies with the legal requirements or if you have a valid exemption, such as a medical exemption. Consult legal experts or seek professional advice if you receive a tint-related ticket.

9. Is Windshield Tint Legal in Washington?

Windshield tinting is generally not legal in Washington, except for a non-reflective tint applied to the top 6 inches of the windshield. This exception is designed to reduce sun glare for the driver.

10. Is Ceramic Tint Legal in Washington?

Yes, ceramic tint is legal in Washington as long as it adheres to the specific Visible Light Transmission (VLT) requirements for each window. Ceramic tint is known for its effectiveness in reducing heat and glare without interfering with radio and GPS signals.

Always refer to official sources and verify information with the relevant authorities or legal experts for the most current and accurate details.

Tint law references:

Revised Code of Washington section 46.37.430: Safety glazing

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