New York Window Tint Law

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The New York window tint law permits you to tint the top six inches of your windshield and up to 70% tint darkness on your front seat side windows. The back seat side windows also have a 70% limit, while the rear windows have no limit.
Slightly tinted windows enhance privacy, improve the look of your vehicle, and may even improve visibility while driving. Many states, however, have tinting limitations for the sake of safety. Windows that are too dark might impair vision while driving and lead to an accident.
To help you stay compliant in your state, the car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry is breaking down everything you need to know about New York’s window tint laws.

What is the visible light transmission percentage?

The visible light transmission (VLT) percentage refers to how much light can pass through a car window after a tint is applied. Each state has enacted different legal restrictions.
The higher the VLT, the more light passes through the film. A 50% tint, for example, lets 50% of the light through. In contrast, a 5% tint (also known as “limo tint”) lets only 5% percent of light through.
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What is the New York window tint law?

Window tint laws in New York were enacted in 1991 to limit the extent to which you can tint your windows. New York has specific laws for sedans versus SUVs and vans.
The limits for sedans are as follows:
  • For your front windshield, non-reflective tint is allowed on the top six inches of the windshield. Must allow more than 70% of light in.
  • For your front-seat side windows, you must allow more than 70% of light in. 
  • For your back-seat side windows, you must allow more than 70% of light in. 
  • For your rear window, there is no limit as long as dual exterior rearview mirrors are used.
The limits for SUVs and sedans are:
  • For your front windshield, non-reflective tint is permitted on the top six inches of the windshield. Must allow more than 70% of light in.
  • For your front-seat side windows, you must allow more than 70% of light in.
  • For your back-seat side windows, there is no limit.
  • For your rear window, there is no limit.
You are not allowed to have any mirrored or metallic reflective tints.
New York film manufacturers do not need to certify the tint film. However, you must have a sticker on each tinted window to identify that your tinting is legal.

Medical exemptions

New York offers exemptions to the aforementioned window tint laws if you have any of the following medical conditions:
  • Albinism
  • Chronic actinic dermatitis/actinic reticuloid
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Lupus erythematosus
  • Porphyria
  • Xeroderma (pigmentosa) pigmentosum
  • Severe drug photosensitivity, provided that the course of treatment causing the photosensitivity is expected to be of prolonged duration
  • Photophobia associated with an ophthalmic or neurological disorder
  • Any other condition or disorder causing severe photosensitivity in which the person needs shielding from direct sun exposure
If you have one of these conditions, you can use the Application for Tinted Window Exemption (MV-80W) to apply for an exemption. If you are granted one, you must have a physical copy of the certificate in your vehicle at all times.

Penalties for violating the window tint law

If you’re pulled over for violating the window tint law in New York, you can be charged with a fine of up to $150.
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Tinting your car windows will cost you between $150 and $500 on average. Prices vary based on your car and the auto shop doing the work.

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