Many people opt for tinted windows because it is a stylish and useful feature that can enhance the look and functionality of your car.
But what are the local rules and regulations? And can you get pulled over for window tint in Washington?
Let’s explore the various Washington window tint laws and what could happen if you fail to observe them.
Washington State Law and VLT
When considering the kind of window tint you should get, Visible Light Transmission is the most important metric because it measures how much sunlight can filter through your windows and into your car.
The lower the VLT percentage, the darker your windows will be.
For example, a VLT of 10% will only let in one tenth of the total light, but a VLT of 90% will let in nine tenths, or, almost all of the light.
In Washington, there is a set of regulations that dictates how dark your window tint can be.
This varies by type of car and window, so make sure you know whether you have a passenger vehicle or a multi-purpose vehicle before making a purchase.
Washington Window Tint Laws for Passenger and Multi-Purpose Vehicles
In Washington, all vehicles can have non-reflective tint on the top 6 inches of the windshield.
Beyond that, the laws depend on your specific car.
When it comes to sedans, you can have tinted front and back passenger windows and a tinted rear window.
All of them should have a VLT above 24% to comply with local regulations.
If you own an SUV and a van, you can also have window tint on your front and back passenger windows and rear window, but the 24% VLT rule only applies to the front side windows.
There is no restriction on how dark the others can be on this type of vehicle.
Further Regulations and Laws in Washington
Aside from VLT, there are also restrictions on how reflective your windows can be, as very reflective surfaces can distract other drivers and cause an accident.
Fortunately, the same rule applies to all cars: Your front and back side windows can be no more than 35% reflective.
You should also note that no red, yellow, or amber window tints are allowed in this state.
In case your back window is tinted, you will need to install dual side mirrors.
When buying film from your dealer, it’s worth checking whether this comes from a manufacturer who certifies the film they sell because this is another legal requirement.
Finally, you will need to have a sticker that identifies your tint on the driver’s side window, between the film and the glass.
Window Tint Laws and Medical Exemptions
While all of these rules apply to the general public, there are certain conditions that affect how your skin reacts to UV light, and they qualify you for an exemption.
If you suffer from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Xeroderma Pigmentosum, Albinism, Solar Urticaria, or a similar medical issue, you can likely get darker tinted windows, which can prevent you from developing severe symptoms related to your condition.
In Washington, medical exemptions are allowed, so it’s important to speak to your physician about this.
You should be able to get a prescription for window tint, but only if you genuinely suffer from a severe condition that can impact your health and safety in a significant way.
Now that you’re aware of the most important rules and regulations when it comes to applying window tint in Washington, you may have questions about whether this is the right choice for you and what happens in case you break the rules.
Read on to find out more about why you should consider getting tinted windows that comply with the local regulations.
Is Window Tint the Right Choice for Me?
Only you can decide whether getting window tint is worth it to you.
If your skin is sensitive to UV rays or you often get blinded when driving, it is advisable that you use tinted windows to make your driving experience safer.
People who drive for long periods at a time often underestimate the amount of damage UV rays can do, so you should definitely look into this option if you’re a regular driver.
In addition to the safety aspect, tinted windows can also make driving more fun and economical because they can keep a lot of heat out in the summer.
That way, you don’t need to use the air conditioning so much, which can benefit both your wallet and the environment.
Darker windows may also deter thieves, who won’t be able to see what you keep inside your car and are likely to opt for a different vehicle as a result.
Can You Get Pulled Over for Tint in Washington?
Unfortunately, tinted windows count as a primary offense in Washington, which means that you can get pulled over solely for this reason.
Police officers will carry devices that can accurately measure how dark the tint is, and in case you don’t comply with the regulations, you may face a $124 fine.
The main reason why the Washington Police Department is so strict about window tint is so that others can see into the car, for example if you’re at a crosswalk and pedestrians want to know if you have seen them.
It’s also safer for you if you can see the road clearly.
Window tint can be a great way to cool your car down in the summer and make sure you don’t get sunburnt while driving.
The Washington window tint laws vary by window and type of car, but they allow you to have a more pleasant driving experience while still complying with local regulations.