Tinted vehicle windows: Advantages and legality in the UK

Having tinted glass in the windows of a vehicle can have several benefits, but it is also necessary to be aware of the laws that have been put in place to regulate its use. In this guide, we will take a closer look at what tinted glass can offer vehicles, as well as the legal regulations that have to be followed to install it safely and within the bounds of the law.

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The benefits of tinted vehicle windows

At Romag, we can introduce coloured layers or high-performing interlayers into our glass to reduce the amount of infrared, visible light, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation that passes through the windows of a vehicle.

Installing tinted windows can create a better driving environment, keeping glare from the sun lower than regular glass and keeping the interior temperature cooler. Both of these advantages contribute to an improved driving experience, with greater driver visibility and comfort.

Additionally, with a naturally cooler interior, a vehicle’s air conditioning will not have to work as hard to keep temperatures at a constant low, saving fuel and therefore money for the owner of the vehicle.

Tinted glass can also help to reduce exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can cause premature skin aging and skin cancer — this can be very helpful on long journeys where there could be a risk of overexposure.

As well as the benefits to passengers’ health, UV-filtering tints can preserve the condition of a vehicle’s interior, as your plastics and upholstery can be affected by prolonged exposure to the sunlight. UV radiation can break down the chemical bonds in cloth, causing a bleaching affect that leads to colour loss. Likewise, it can break the polymer bonds found in plastic, as well as drying it out, causing it to crack. UV-filtering means that your upholstery will not fade as quickly and plastics will not be as prone to cracking.

Another benefit of having tinted windows in a vehicle is the increased levels of privacy it offers, making it ideal for use in VIP vehicles where keeping a low profile is of the utmost importance. Although front-side and windscreen tints are subject to UK law, the passenger side windows and rear windscreen can be installed with any level of tint. This makes it possible to provide complete anonymity for any high-profile passengers in the vehicle.

Legality of tinted windows in the UK

Most modern vehicles have a slight tint to their window glass, but it is possible to increase the levels of tinting as long as it stays within the boundaries of the law.

One of the key reasons why the level of window tinting is regulated by the law is down to the reduction of visibility that heavy tints cause to drivers, especially at night. While it might be possible to drive a heavily tinted vehicle around without a problem in daylight hours, at night the wrong kind of tint can cause a driver’s visibility to become greatly reduced. This is often compared to driving around in the dark wearing sunglasses.

Another reason that tints are regulated in the UK is because a tint that is too opaque can prevent other motorists and pedestrians from seeing the driver. Quite often, being able to make eye contact with or gesture towards another driver is essential in understanding one another on the road.

Law enforcement agencies also need to be able to see into the interior of vehicles, and a heavy tint can quite often prevent this from being possible.

Because of these reasons, the UK enforces laws that permit the following:

  • Vehicles first used on 1 April 1985 or later: Front windscreens have to be able to allow at least 75% of light through, while the front side windows must allow at least 70% of light through.
  • Vehicles first used before 1 April 1985: Front windscreen and front side windows must be able to allow 70% of light through.

Penalties for breaking these laws

The law for overly tinted windows is enforced by the police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), who both use light-measuring equipment capable of measuring the level of tint in a vehicle’s windows.

The two penalties that can result from over-tinted vehicle glass are:

  • Being issued with a prohibition notice that will prevent you from operating your vehicle on the road until the tint has been removed.
  • A penalty notice or summons to court.

Romag’s Tinted Glass

Here at Romag, our tinted glass is the ideal solution for safe, effective, and road-legal vehicle glazing in VIP vehicles. We are able to combine our cutting-edge tinted layers with a variety of our high-quality glass products for the transport market, including bullet-resistant and laminated glass.

You can view further details on our tinted glass product page. If you would like to find out more about this product or would like to discuss how Romag can assist your project, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Photo credit: © MB-Bailey - licence