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South Dakota Window Tint Laws

Many people enjoy tinted windows in their cars, particularly during the summer months or on long road trips.

However, there are certain rules and regulations in place to make sure that tinting doesn’t interfere with a driver’s ability to safely navigate the streets.

So, what are the local laws, and can you get pulled over for tint in South Dakota?

Read on to find out more about South Dakota window tint laws and how to avoid incurring a penalty.  

South Dakota State Law and VLT

The most important measure when it comes to window tint laws is the VLT, or visible light transmission.

This is a measure of the percentage of light your window lets in.

For example, a VLT of 50% will let half of the original light penetrate, while a VLT of 20% will only let a fifth in.

The lower the percentage, the darker your windows, so you have to purchase film that is above the minimum VLT listed below.

The laws surrounding window tint were introduced in 1989 in South Dakota in order to keep everyone on the road safe.

While window tint can help avoid the sun’s glare, you won’t be able to see so well if your windows are too dark.

South Dakota Window Tint Laws for Passenger and Multi-Purpose Vehicles

Fortunately, there aren’t separate rules for sedans, SUVs, and vans in this state.

All vehicles must abide by the same rules, which is why you don’t have to worry about which category your car falls into.

However, there are different regulations for the various windows you have in your vehicle.

Your windshield can have a non-reflective tint above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line.

Your rear window and back side windows can all be tinted at 20% Visible Light Transmission or above, and the front passenger windows must have a VLT of 35% or more.

When purchasing film from a manufacturer, remember that a lower VLT will be darker and a higher VLT will be lighter.

Also, keep in mind that a tint variance of 9% is permissible in this state.

Further Regulations and Laws in South Dakota

Aside from Visible Light Transmission, there are several other laws to take into account.

An important factor is whether your windows are reflective or not, as that could distract other drivers.

In South Dakota, your tinted windows shouldn’t have a metallic or mirrored appearance.

However, there are no color restrictions, so you can choose the shade of your tint freely.

When buying film, it’s important to know that manufacturers must certify the film that they produce, so you should check with your dealer before making a purchase.

Ask them whether they are selling certified film that complies with North Dakota regulations.

You will also need to have a sticker to identify the tint between the film and the glass of every window.

Window Tint Laws and Medical Exemptions

In some states, you can get darker tinted windows if you have a severe medical condition.

For example, people with Albinism, Cockayne Syndrome, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, or Bloom Syndrome are particularly vulnerable to UV rays.

Unfortunately, there is no such exemption in South Dakota, so you will need to abide by the local laws no matter what.

Compared to other states, the regulations are quite lenient, allowing for darker tint.

In most cases, the allowable quantity should be sufficient to keep your skin safe, but you can also employ additional methods such as sunscreen and long-sleeved clothing to protect yourself.

In case you are worried about exposure to the sun, ask your physician for guidance.


Now that you know what the local rules and regulations are, you might be wondering whether it’s worth it to install tinted windows, and what could happen if you don’t abide by the laws.

Let’s explore some frequently asked questions, so you can make an informed decision about the kind of tinting film you install.

Why Should You Get Window Tint?

Knowing all of these rules and regulations, is there still a case for window tint? Why should you opt for this feature anyway?

There are several benefits to having tinted windows in your car, ranging from comfort to health.

Firstly, South Dakota has four distinct seasons and it can get quite hot in the summer months.

By darkening your windows, you can maintain a cool environment in your car and save money on air conditioning.

In addition, you can be a better driver if you’re not struggling against the sun’s glare, and you don’t run the risk of failing to see an obstacle because you have to squint.

Finally, there are important health benefits to avoiding too much UV radiation.

People who drive for long periods of time should consider getting tinted windows so that the whole body is protected.

Can You Get Pulled Over for Tint in South Dakota?

You can get pulled over if a police officer suspects that your windows are darker than the allowable limit.

In recent years, new technologies have been developed that allow an accurate measure of window tint.

If you have installed windows with a VLT that is too low, you will face a class 2 misdemeanor, which will cost you $120.

Installing tinted windows can help protect you from the sun, excessive heat, and glare.

While the South Dakota window tint laws are quite specific, they are also more lenient than in some other states.

As long as you abide by the regulations, you can enjoy a cooler, safer driving experience by tinting your windows.