Texas Window Tint Laws

Tinting your vehicle’s windows can help keep you cool and block the sun on a hot and bright Texas day. It is important, however, to obey Texas’ window tint laws when adding this feature to your vehicle. Otherwise, you could face fines and penalties. A driver who breaks Texas’ window tint laws could also be found at fault for a related car accident.

How Dark Can Window Tint Be in Texas?

Texas’ window tint laws are found in Texas Administrative Code, Title 37, Part 1, Rule 21.3. This law refers to window tinting as any “sunscreening device” – a glazing, film material or device with visible tinting for reducing the effects of sunlight. It measures the opaqueness of window tint using light transmission value. This is the ratio of the amount of total visible light that passes through the window to the amount of total visible light falling on the product or material and the glazing. Here are the rules:

  • The light transmission value of window tint on a windshield (in combination with the original windshield glazing) must be 25 percent or more.
  • The luminous reflectance of window tint used in the top five inches of the windshield (or the AS-1 line) must be 25 percent or less. Luminous reflectance is the ratio of total visible light that is reflected outward by the window tint to the amount of total visible light falling on the tint.
  • These values apply to all windows on a standard passenger vehicle. The required values must exist across the entire surface area of the window.
  • On a bus, van, motorhome, truck, club wagon, tractor-trailer or multipurpose vehicle, the windows that are to the immediate left and right of the driver must have light transmission values of at least 25 percent and luminous reflectance values of no more than 25 percent. All other windows do not have required values.
  • If a vehicle has left and right side mirrors, there is no minimum light transmission requirement for rear windows on any type of vehicle. Without mirrors, your rear window must have a light transmission value of 25 percent.
  • A glazing shade band that has less than 25 percent light transmission may be used in the uppermost portion of the rear window, similar to the windshield.

It can be difficult to understand these rules if you are not a window tint expert. This is why you should leave the installation of any aftermarket sunscreening device to the pros. Professional window tinters will know what type of tint to use in accordance with Texas’ tint laws, as well as where tinting can legally be installed.

Where Can Window Tint Be Installed?

Window tinting can be installed on all windows of a vehicle, including the windshield and rear window. However, a windshield can only be tinted at the very top to avoid inhibiting the driver’s clear view of the road. Window tint or sunscreening devices of any type are not allowed above the AS-1 area of the windshield, or the top five inches if the AS-1 area is not marked with a line annotation.

What Are the Repercussions of Using Illegal Window Tint?

Illegal window tint is an issue in Texas that increases the risk of car accidents. If a driver’s windows do not allow enough light transmission, this can decrease the driver’s view of the road. This is especially true if a driver illegally tints his or her windshield. If you get into a car accident with a driver whose vehicle appears to have illegal window tinting, report the crash to the police right away.

The penalty for breaking Texas’ window tint laws is a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, the driver will have to pay for the car accident if it is determined that he or she caused the crash due to a lack of visibility from illegal window tint. If you are injured in an accident caused by the other driver, call his or her car insurance company to file a claim. Then, contact a car accident attorney in Austin in Texas for a free consultation.