• Brad Keating

Tennessee Window Tint Law

Window tint is a great way to spruce up a car’s look, add a personal touch, or keep others from peering into it. However, there are window tint laws governing window tinting in each state. Those who are interested in having their windows tinted in Tennessee should know the Tennessee window tint law.


To get more information on the Tennessee window tinting laws, contact a legal expert from The Keating Law Firm who can help dispel any doubt, and answer any relevant questions.


Window Tint Basics

Window Tint Basics


The term "window tinting" refers to techniques that prevent some wavelengths of light from passing through glass windows. Typically, a colored film is applied to a car's windshield, side windows, and rear window. Some new model vehicles have tinted windows that have been treated during the car's manufacturing process.


This type of tinting usually adheres to state law regarding window tinting. After-market window tinting can also be done on older cars or those whose car windows have not been treated.


These window tints are applied by private businesses or can be done by the owner or driver of the vehicle with a DIY window tinting kit. Tennessee window tint law is most often breached when these after-market modifications are made.


Types of Window Tinting


Most state window tint laws are concerned with the amount of light transmission permitted. Window tinting done illegally can allow less light to pass through than is required by Tennessee window tint law.


When the authorities notice this, they stop the driver to inform him or her that the vehicle does not comply with Tennessee window tint law and issue a citation.


These Tennessee tint laws apply to heat shrink tint, shade bands, which are a thin strip of tint at the top of a windshield, and all removable sunscreens such as those that attach to a window via suction cups.


The Benefits of Window Tint


There are several benefits to having tint installed on a vehicle's windows. Summers in Tennessee can be harsh, and car window tinting can keep the interior cooler by up to 60 percent.


Tinting a car's windows can also have a skin protection benefit for those who are inside the car by minimizing the impact of incoming light or harmful ultraviolet light.


Other advantages of tinted windows include its ability to protect the upholstery of the car's seats, thereby increasing its resale value. Window tint can also provide privacy preventing thieves from viewing valuables within the vehicle.


Disadvantages to Tinting Car Windows


One major downside to window tinting is that it tends to attract the attention of police officers. Having dark-colored tinted windows creates the appearance that the occupants are attempting to hide something. Windows that have dark tint give officials a reason to pull a driver over for an investigation and are one of the most common reasons for an encounter with the police.


What Is VLT?


Visible Light Transmission, or VLT, is the percentage of visible light that passes through a vehicle's windows. To put it another way, the lower the VLT percentage, the darker the tint. A 35 percent tint is a good mix between light and dark tint, allowing enough light in for day and night driving.


However, windows with a lower visible light transmission are not permitted, as it results in low visibility, and could potentially lead to road accidents. If you or your child are involved in an auto accident, visit https://www.keatingfirmlaw.com/personal-injury for information on what to do next.

Those considering having their car windows tinted should take note of the Tennessee tint laws in place.


Tennessee Window Tinting Laws


Tennessee window tinting laws have been put in place because window tints reduce driver visibility, making it difficult to see road signs, pedestrians, and other cars. Many states consider car window tinting to be an obstruction to a driver's range of vision and choose to restrict tints to prevent road accidents. If you have been in an accident recently, contact a car accident law firm.


State laws regarding window tint must be complied with, or the owner of a vehicle could receive a hefty fine. Here are the legal tinting VLT percentages or window tint darkness in Tennessee:

• Side and rear window – 35 percent

• Windshield – 70 percent

• Rear window – 35 percent


Other Tennessee Window Tint Laws and Regulations to Note


Those wondering about colored tint may be relieved to know that the color of the window tint that can be used on car windows is not restricted. Side mirrors have no restrictions, but it is advisable not to have these tinted, as it could interfere with a driver’s ability to see. It also serves no purpose.


Those who manufacture window tints are not required to receive certification for the window tint that they sell in the state of Tennessee, but a sticker indicating legal tinting must be applied between the tinting film and window on the driver’s side. Tennessee law allows some motorists to apply for exemptions if they have medical issues that cause sensitivity to visible light.


Window Tint with a Mirrored or Metallic Appearance


In Tennessee, any tint installed on a windshield must have tint darkness of 70 percent, and metallic or mirrored tint is not permitted on the front windshield. Passenger vehicles may have up to 35 percent tint darkness on the rear, and side windows.


Tennessee Window Tint Law Exemptions


Tennessee window tint law may allow for the following individuals to have darker tint on their windows than others:

• Law enforcement vehicles

• Vehicles used by private investigators

• Cars that are registered in other states

• Those who have applied for a medical exemption


Medical Exemptions


Some medical conditions may require tinting car windows at a lower VLT, which violates Tennessee window tint laws. In this case, a sufferer must apply for an exemption from the Tennessee Department of Safety before tinting the car windows darker than the window tint law allows.


What Conditions Qualify for Medical Exemption?

Exemptions are available for medical conditions such as allergies to sunlight, xeroderma, photosensitivity, porphyria, pigmentosa, lupus, and melanoma. This person need not be the driver of the vehicle to be eligible for the exemption.


If this person is a frequent passenger in the respective vehicle with such conditions, they qualify.


Applying for Medical Exemptions

To begin the medical exemption process, a doctor must submit a statement to the Commissioner of the Department of Safety. This statement is proof that the applicant has a medical condition that requires a darker tint than the Tennessee window tinting law allows.


When the Commissioner acquires the application, it is forwarded to the department's medical review board for evaluation. If the board determines that the medical exemption is justified, they recommend that an exemption be issued, clearly stating the allowable degree of window tint.


When the percentage of visible light allowed is determined, the applicant is issued a certificate or sticker for the vehicle indicating the degree of the exemption.


The Consequences of Breaking Tennessee Window Tint Laws


Those who contravene Tennessee window tinting laws face fines from $138 to $300.


Law enforcement may use a little white box that slides over the glass window tint and displays the VLT percentage on a digital screen to help Tennessee law enforcement authorities to determine whether a car's window tint is within the legal limit.


It is important to note that window tint law varies by state, so if a Tennessee resident travels to another state, they may encounter problems depending on whether the state has similar state law.


Assessing a Vehicle’s Window Tint


Terms such as "light transmission" and "luminous reflectance" can be difficult to grasp. They can be even more challenging to quantify with any level of certainty.


Therefore, those who are concerned about their window tint contravening Tennessee window tinting laws should have their vehicle inspected to see if it complies with these laws.


The vehicle can be inspected by a government assessor or a private inspector. They may use an instrument known as a photometer, which measures light transmission, which determines whether the legal window tint requirements have been met.


Contact the state's department of motor vehicles or local DMV office to find out where the car's window tint may be inspected.


Keep in mind that while a vehicle's window tint may comply with one state's requirements, it may not comply with another, as laws change from state to state.


Window Tint Basics

Removing Window Tint


Removing a window tint can keep a driver from being pulled over by law enforcement for illegal window tinting time after time.


While it may not seem to be a big issue, fines for the incorrect window tint can pile up over time, costing a driver thousands of dollars, and the fined amount increases each time a new fine is issued.


Sometimes, law enforcement may discover other issues with the vehicle or other contraventions of road traffic laws, which may lead to additional charges or fines.


This can be infuriating because window tinting can be quite expensive to have installed, so it is always better to check the Tennessee window tint law before having window tint installed.


Unsure About Tennessee Window Tinting Law? Contact The Keating Law Firm!


Those who need more clarity regarding Tennessee window tint law can contact Keating Law Firm to have all their questions answered. Book a free consultation with the law firm today to receive expert advice from the firm's legal experts about Tennessee laws such as seat belt laws or front license plate laws.