Can you get pulled over for tint in North Carolina?
Drivers must know and understand the window tinting laws in the state of North Carolina.
Not every state implements the same laws, so new and old residents alike may not be aware of what they can and cannot do.
In addition to standard tint percentage laws, North Carolina also follows a few auxiliary laws that drivers should take note of.
Legal Tint Limit for Sedans
In the state of North Carolina, the window tinting laws are very specific and differ between sedans and SUVs/vans.
Below are the legal tint limits for sedans.
In North Carolina, the front windshield must use non-reflective tint only.
The tint must be above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line, or within the top five inches of the windshield.
Front Seat Side Windows
North Carolina law states that the front side windows must allow more than 35% of light in, or have a VLT of more than 35%.
Back Seat Side Windows
The back seat side windows of sedans must also let more than 35% of light in with a VLT of 35%.
Rear windows follow suit in North Carolina, requiring a VLT of more than 35%.
Legal Tint Limit for SUVs and Vans
North Carolina has different laws for SUVs and vans than it does for sedans in terms of window tinting.
While these regulations are more lenient than sedan tinting laws, it’s still important to know and follow them.
North Carolina SUVs and vans must use a non-reflective tint on their front windshield.
This tint must be above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line, or within the top five inches of the windshield.
Front Seat Side Windows
The front seat side windows of both SUVs and vans must allow for more than 35% of light to come through.
Back Seat Side Windows
The state of North Carolina allows any level of tint to be used on SUV and van back seat windows.
SUVs and vans may also use any darkness percentage on their rear windows.
Additional Window Tint Laws in North Carolina
In addition to the laws concerning VLT, North Carolina has some other laws that apply to window tinting for residents.
Tinted windows can use colors in the film, but drivers may not use the colors red, yellow, or amber as dictated by state law.
If the back window of your vehicle is tinted, you must also have dual side mirrors.
Unlike other states, North Carolina does not require manufacturers to certify their films before selling within the state.
Drivers with tinted windows also do not need a sticker to identify legal tinting.
North Carolina allows for a 3% variance in VLT.
North Carolina offers exemptions to window tinting laws for individuals who have photosensitivity to light.
These individuals may need darker window tints and can access them by applying for a medical exemption permit.
Medical exemption permits are obtained through the NC DMV’s Medical Review Program and are valid for up to five years.
They must remain in the driver’s vehicle at all times, and the vehicle must also have a medical exception sticker on the lower left-hand corner of the rear window.
In addition to medical exemptions, there are other exceptions for tinting laws in the state of North Caroline.
The following vehicles do not fall under NC tinting regulations:
- Law enforcement vehicles
- Motor homes
- Excursion passenger vehicles
- Properly hauling vehicles (rear window only)
These vehicles are defined in state records, which can be found here.
How is Tint Darkness Measured in North Carolina?
The darkness of a window’s tint in measure in Visible Light Transmission (VLT) percentage in North Carolina.
This percentage indicates the amount of visible light that a tint allows to pass through the window.
A higher percentage allows more light to pass through, while a lower percentage blocks out more light.
Each state has different laws, rules, and regulations concerning VLT in tinted car windows.
How Reflective Can Tint be in North Carolina?
Some tinting films contain metallic elements to achieve a mirrored look.
The purpose of this reflective component is to deflect sunlight, which can help minimize both glare and heat for a driver operating a vehicle.
In the state of North Carolina, a vehicle may have no more than a total of 20% reflective.
The mirror look must also be silver. This law applies to both the front side windows and the rear side windows.
While tinting your car’s windows can have some important benefits, such as reducing glare and heat, tinting laws are necessary for the sake of public safety.
Windows that are tinted too dark can cause poor visibility for drivers, which can lead to accidents and dangerous situations.
Likewise, dark windows pose a threat to law enforcement officers in dealing with routine and high-risk traffic stops and incidents where they need to be able to see clearly.
Even within the same state, laws can be interpreted differently across county lines.
If you have any further questions concerning tinting on your vehicle’s windows, be sure to contact your local DMV or police department.
It’s best to be clear on the laws rather than break them, so take the time to learn about regulations in your specific area.