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What Are Oklahoma City’s Window Tint Laws?

Many vehicle owners opt to add tint to their vehicles or darken existing tint. Window tint serves many useful functions, including reducing sun glare, protecting occupants’ skin and vehicles’ interiors from the sun’s harmful rays, reducing interior temperatures when vehicles are parked outside, increasing privacy, and more.

The darker the tint, the more pronounced these benefits are. However, dark window tint has a few downsides. It can make it more difficult for drivers to see out of their windows, for other drivers to see them and communicate non-verbally, and for police officers to know if there are potential threats lurking inside a vehicle during a traffic stop.

If you’re thinking about getting or increasing window tint on your vehicle, here’s what you need to know about Oklahoma’s window tint laws, which also apply to and are enforced in Oklahoma City.

Why Are There Window Tint Laws?

Window tint laws exist for several important reasons, primarily related to safety, security, and law enforcement considerations. These laws aim to strike a balance between the benefits of window tinting and the potential risks it can pose if not regulated.

Here’s a detailed look at why window tint laws are in place:

Visibility Concerns for the Driver

One of the main reasons for window tint laws is to ensure that drivers have sufficient visibility, especially under low light conditions. Excessively dark window tints can significantly reduce a driver’s ability to see other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles, increasing the risk of accidents. By regulating the darkness of tints, laws help maintain a minimum level of visibility for safe driving.

Safety Concerns for Law Enforcement and Emergency Responders

Window tint laws also consider the safety of law enforcement officers and emergency responders. Dark tints can obscure the view into a vehicle, making it difficult for officers to see inside during traffic stops or emergencies. This not only poses a safety risk to officers, who must be able to assess the situation inside a vehicle quickly, but it also hinders their ability to provide aid in emergency situations.

Protection of Road Users

The ability to make eye contact or see other drivers’ intentions is crucial in many driving scenarios, such as at intersections or when changing lanes. If window tints are too dark, it prevents this non-verbal communication, potentially leading to misunderstandings or accidents. Window tint laws ensure that this aspect of road safety is preserved.

How Are Window Tint Levels Measured?

Window tint levels are measured by the amount of light that can pass through the window film, known as Visible Light Transmission (VLT). The VLT percentage indicates the fraction of visible light that is allowed to pass through both the window and the film applied to it. For example, a VLT rating of 30% means that the window film allows 30% of the visible light to pass through the window.

Tools used to measure window tint levels include:

  • Tint Meter: The most common tool used to measure window tint levels is a tint meter. Tint meters are portable devices that can quickly and accurately measure the VLT percentage of automotive glass. There are two main types of tint meters:
    • Transmission Tint Meters: These meters measure the light passing directly through the window. The device is placed on one side of the window, and a light source from the meter shines through to a sensor on the other side.
    • Reflectance Tint Meters: Less commonly used for automotive purposes, these meters measure how much light is reflected off the surface of the window rather than how much light passes through.

Another method involves using a photometer or spectrophotometer to measure the light intensity before and after it passes through the tinted window. This method is more commonly used in laboratory settings or for precise measurements by manufacturers rather than for on-the-spot law enforcement checks.

How Much Window Tint Is Legally Allowed in Oklahoma City?

According to Oklahoma Law, the amount of tint each window can have on a vehicle depends on the type of vehicle and which window is tinted:

  • Windshields: For the windshield on all vehicles, the law allows non-reflective tint in the area above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line. The AS-1 line is usually about five or six inches from the very top of the windshield. This regulation ensures that the driver’s visibility is not significantly reduced, especially under low light conditions, while still offering some degree of sun protection and privacy.
  • Front Side Windows: The front side windows of all vehicles must allow more than 25% of light in. This requirement is crucial for the driver’s visibility, particularly for identifying pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles from the sides.
  • Back Side and Rear Windows: Sedans, hatchbacks, coupes, and station wagons must allow more than 25% of light in for both back and rear windows, while any amount of darkness is allowed for those windows on SUVs, vans, minibuses, RVs, campers, and pickup trucks.

In addition to these laws, the state requires that vehicles be equipped with dual side mirrors if their back windows are tinted. In addition, the state allows medical exemptions for special tint, which allow drivers to increase the amount of tint on their windows beyond the legal limit to 15% of light transmission for daylight driving only.

What Are the Penalties for Violating Oklahoma City’s Window Tint Laws?

The fines for a window tint violation in Oklahoma are typically in the range of $20 to $100, but the exact amount can depend on the court and any additional court costs or fees that may be applied. In some cases, law enforcement may give the vehicle owner a notice or a fix-it ticket, allowing them some time to remove the non-compliant tint and avoid further penalties.

Repeated offenses or failure to comply with a fix-it ticket can lead to increased fines and possibly other legal consequences. It’s important for vehicle owners to address any window tint violations promptly to avoid escalating penalties. In addition, drivers who cause crashes because of tinted windows or windshields that exceed Oklahoma’s legal limits can be held liable for any damages they cause.

Contact Our Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Review

Window tint law violations may seem like minor offenses, but they can impair drivers’ ability to see and react to other vehicles on the road. In addition, people who knowingly violate this law may violate other driving laws, too, putting themselves and others in danger in the process.

If you or someone you love was injured by a negligent driver, our Oklahoma City auto accident attorneys are here to help. Contact us anytime for a free, no-obligation consultation. We want to help you get the money you need for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.