There is a lot of complication around laws and regulations of window tints. Some states allow it, while others prohibit its use.
If you’re wondering about window tint laws in North Carolina, you have come to the right place. This article will discuss the North Carolina window tint law and everything around it in detail.
If you live in North Carolina, this article is for you.
These North Carolina window tint laws were recently updated in 2023. They were actually enacted in the year 2001.
What are Window Tint Laws? Why These Laws Exist?
Stipulations in law that underline the restrictions on various specifications of window tints are commonly referred to as window tint laws.
These laws determine if you can use window tints in a specific state or not. If yes, then what will be the allowable visible light transmission (VLT) percentage and reflectivity? The law also covers the penalties for violation and parties exempt from following it.
These laws exist for security and safety reasons. With increasing crime rates and car-jacking incidents, it is important for law enforcement personnel to be able to see the driver.
A dark tint enables criminals to get away without any identification. This is why, to ensure the safety of all citizens, window tint laws have been implemented in all states.
Additionally, a dark tint hinders the view of the driver. This is why the traffic administration authority ensures that drivers are able to see through glass properly.
What are the VLT% Restrictions in the State of North Carolina?
Visible Light Transmission or VLT percentage is the percentage of the visible light that passes through the glass window.
A lower VLT% means a darker tint since it allows a lesser percentage of visible light to pass through it. Similarly, a higher VLT% means a lighter tint since it allows a higher percentage of visible light to pass through it.
Almost all states, including North Carolina, have imposed restrictions on the VLT% of tints. VLT% restrictions can be divided into two main categories: passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
Let’s discuss both these categories in North Carolina according to the Window Tinting – North Carolina DMV:
For Passenger Cars
For Front Side Windows: The North Carolina window tint law defines that a minimum of 35% visible light should be passing through the tint film on the front side windows. (A 3% variance is allowed, so actually, you can go down to 32%.)
For Rear Side Windows: According to North Carolina window tint law, a minimum of 35% visible light should be passing through the tint film on the rear side windows. (A 3% variance is allowed, so actually, you can go down to 32%.)
For Commercial and Multi-purpose Vehicles
For Front Side Windows: According to North Carolina law, a minimum of 35% visible light should be passing through the tint film on the front side windows. (A 3% variance is allowed, so actually, you can go down to 32%.)
For Rear Side Windows: As far as the rear side windows go, there are no VLT% restrictions on commercial and multi-purpose vehicles.
Can You Use Tint on Windshields in North Carolina?
Before dwelling on the windshield tint laws of North Carolina, it is important to understand the term AS-1. AS-1 stands for the 1st automotive safety standard line.
In tint laws, AS-1 means that you can only apply a tint on the top 4-6 inches of your windshield. Applying any tint below that will be considered illegal.
The angle of incidence for sunlight is such that it falls right on top of the windshield. So, more than 70% of heat and UV rays enter at the top.
Now, let’s see what North Carolina tint law says about the use of window tint on windshields.
For Passenger Cars
Front Windshield: Window tint can only be used till the AS-1 limit of your front windshield for passenger cars in North Carolina. It is typically top 4-6 inches as applied by the manufacturer.
Rear Windshield: North Carolina is one of those states that impose restrictions on the VLT% of the rear windshield as well. The rear windshield of your passenger car must allow passage to at least 35% of visible light. However, you can use tint all over it.
For Commercial and Multi-purpose Vehicles
Front Windshield: You can only use window tint till the AS-1 limit of your front windshield for commercial vehicles and multi-purpose vehicles in North Carolina.
Rear Windshield: You are allowed to apply a tint all over the back windshield of your commercial and MPV vehicles in North Carolina. The tint can be of any darkness.
What are the Reflectivity Restrictions in North Carolina?
Reflectivity is slightly different from visible light transmission percentage.
Where VLT% decides the amount of visible light passing through the glass film, reflectivity is a measure of light dispersed or reflected by a tint film.
A lower reflectivity means that less amount of light is being reflected off the window glass. Similarly, a high reflectivity means that more light is being reflected.
Let’s see if there are any reflectivity restrictions in North Carolina.
For Front Side Window: According to the NC window tint law, the front windows should not reflect more than 20% of the visible light for passenger cars.
For Rear Side Windows: According to the NC window tint law, the rear windows should not reflect more than 20% of the visible light for passenger cars.
Commercial and Multi-purpose Vehicles
For Front Side Window: According to the NC window tint law, the front windows should not reflect more than 20% of the visible light for commercial and multi-purpose vehicles.
For Rear Side Windows: According to the NC window tint law, the rear windows should not reflect more than 20% of the visible light for commercial and multi-purpose vehicles.
Can You Use a Colored Window Tint in North Carolina?
Yes, you can use a colored window tint in North Carolina. However, certain colors such as red, amber, and yellow have been prohibited because they are highly reflective.
Additionally, you cannot use any tint film on the taillights, headlights, and license plates of your car in North Carolina.
Is Anyone Exempt From the North Carolina Tint Laws?
Yes, people with medical conditions are exempt from North Carolina window tint laws. You can apply with the NC Department of Transportation for permission to use a darker tint by filling out this North Carolina Medical Exemption Application Form.
This permit is valid for five years. After this period, it must be renewed. Plus, you have to display the exemption sticker on the lower left-hand corner of the rear side window. Otherwise, you can be fined up to $200.
Are there any Penalties for Not Complying With the Window Tinting Laws of North Carolina?
Yes, you may have to face a fine for not complying with the window tinting laws of North Carolina. You can be fined a maximum of $50 for breaking the North Carolina tint laws. But the incurred court costs will dent you about $238 in total.
The window tint laws are rigorously enforced in the state of North Carolina. The officers carry a refractometer to check the darkness level of your window tint. In case it is darker than the prescribed limit, they will write you a ticket.