Are tinted car windows illegal in New Yorker State? When I bought my current car in North Carolina, it had really dark tinted windows, which I love. Nosy drivers in the next lane can't get a peak of me singing my favorite songs like I'm on stage performing at a concert. They can't see me doing some of the other questionable stuff I might do, which I won't list here because I don't want to incriminate myself (don't judge me, you probably do all the things I'm talking about too). I never had any issues with my tint in North Cak, but as soon as I moved to New York, in the words of KRS-One,

Woop-woop! That's the sound of da police

My only saving grace and the reason I didn't get a ticket was because my car was registered and insured in a different state.

What Does New York State Law Say About Tinted Windows?

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

There are a few things to consider when it comes to determining if your vehicle can have tinted windows in New York State. The first consideration is whether your car, insurance, and driver's license are from out of state. If all three are from another state, you might be able to slide like I did. You will likely get a stern warning that you need to register your vehicle with New York within 30 days of moving to the state.

If you do have a vehicle registered in New York, you can have tinted windows, but there are rules and levels to it.

As of January 1, 2017, New York State began requiring examination of tinted windows during your car's motor vehicle inspection. The law says that only certain windows can legally be tinted,

Section 375 (12-a) of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law does not allow a windshield or front side windows that are dark. The windshield and front side windows cannot block more than 30% of the light. Seventy percent or more of the light from the outside must pass through the window. This law also applies to the rear window unless the vehicle has outside rear-view mirrors on both sides. The mirrors must give the driver a full and clear view behind the vehicle.

So essentially, you can get some windows tinted, but don't expect the tint to be dark. The rear wide windows also cannot block more than 30% of the light if your vehicle is considered a “Passenger Car” on the Federal ID label on the drivers side door panel.

Can You Convince A Window Tint Company To Go Darker On Your Vehicle?

Probably not. New York State has taken the step of making it illegal for installers to install anything above the legal limit. So, unless you are pretty convincing or have a ton of money to bribe them, you'll probably have a hard time convincing them to risk their business.

It is illegal to sell, offer for sale, or install glass that does not comply with this law. It is illegal to operate a vehicle with glass that does not comply with this law.

Are There Any Legal Exemptions From New York's Tinted Window Laws?

Photo by kelisa Bernard on Unsplash
Photo by kelisa Bernard on Unsplash

On December 20, 2017, the New York State Health department regulations were updated to reflect medical conditions that may allow for a legal exemption from the limits on light transmittance. People who have any of the following medical conditions can request an exemption from the law:

- 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 individual is required for medical reasons to be shielded from the direct rays of the sun.

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