Legality of Tinted Windows in California – 3 Factors to Help with Legality and Safety

May 29, 2024

Legality of Tinted Windows in California – 3 Factors to Help with Legality and Safety

Tinted windows getting installed

Tinted windows are popular across Los Angeles.

Many drivers like tinted windows purely for the sleek aesthetic they can add to a car. 

Tinted windows can provide a number of other benefits aside from being visually appealing, including:

  • UV protection for you and your vehicle’s interior.
  • Cooler interior.
  • Privacy

However, just because tinted windows have an impressive look doesn’t mean they are a requirement, or even necessary. 

Tinted windows may be easily damaged, more difficult to clean, or even cross the lines of legality.

In California, there are a set of laws regarding tinted windows. 

According to California vehicle code 26708, “clear, colorless, and transparent material may be installed, affixed, or applied to the windshield, side, or rear windows of a motor vehicle” under the following conditions:

First, the material must have a minimum visible light transmittance of 88 percent

Next, the window that has the applied material must meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 205 (49 C.F.R. 571.205).

Specifically, the specified minimum light transmittance of 70 percent and the abrasion resistance of AS–14 glazing are federally required.

Furthermore, the material must have been designed and manufactured “to enhance the ability of the existing window glass to block the sun’s harmful ultraviolet A rays”. Thus, aesthetics are not necessarily a valid reason for tinted windows.

There are different fines a person could face for violating laws regarding tinted windows.

Could tinted windows lead to more car accidents?

A lot depends on the light transmittance level, or where/how the tinted windows were installed.

If a driver was to go above the minimum light transmittance, their visibility can be affected. Also, getting your tinted windows from an unauthorized worker or a “friend who knows someone” can provide danger.

Despite a probable discount, someone installing tinted windows who isn’t authorized as a professional to do so may take shortcuts during the process. Again, even though these may seemingly have a positive side effect on your wallet, they may negatively impact you in other ways. 

Not only can a lack of visibility increase chances of crashing your car, but it can increase the risk of being found at-fault for the accident. 

California is a pure comparative fault state, meaning a driver could be found 100 percent at-fault for a car accident. 

Tinted windows on a car

Think of an example where Jason gets his windows tinted darker than the legal requirement simply due to the fact it aesthetically matches his Ferrari. 

While speeding late one night on the 101, Jason doesn’t see a car next to him as he switches lanes. He sideswipes the other vehicle, forcing them to spiral out of control and smash against the wall of the freeway. 

While there could still be other factors that affected his decision, such as driving carelessly or speeding, a jury could find Jason guilty of the fact that his tinted windows affected his ability to see the other vehicle, especially late at night. 

It’s important to remember that just because the other car has tinted windows doesn’t mean they are automatically at fault for that reason. 

However, if you were injured in a car accident, and the other vehicle has tinted windows, you could be entitled to compensation.

At C&B Law Group, our team of Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are ready to help sort out your situation. We pride ourselves on helping our clients receive the maximum compensation possible following any car accident injuries.  

Common injuries following a car accident may include:

  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Back injuries
  • Cuts or lacerations
  • Muscle damage
  • Injuries to your neck
  • Concussions
  • Internal injuries 
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Wrongful death

Damages to help you recover from medical expenses, pain and suffering, or loss of wages are possible. 

Contact the LA attorneys at C&B Law Group today for a free consultation.

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