The UK window tinting law and rules for tinted front windscreens and front side windows depend on when the vehicle was first registered. There are no rules for tinting the rear windscreen or rear passenger windows.
VEHICLES FIRST REGISTERED ON 1 APRIL 1985 OR LATER
The front windscreen of a vehicle must let in at least 75% of light and the front side windows must let in at least 70% of light.
VEHICLES FIRST REGISTERED BEFORE 1 APRIL 1985
The front windscreen and front side windows must both let at least 70% of light through.
PENALTIES FOR HAVING NON LEGAL TINTED WINDOWS
It is illegal to fit or sell a vehicle fitted with tinted glass that breaks the rules on tinted windows.
The police or the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) vehicle examiners use light measuring equipment to measure window tint.
If your windscreen or front side windows are tinted too dark, you could get:
A ‘prohibition notice’ stopping you using your vehicle on the road until you have the extra tint removed.
A penalty notice or court summons.
Tinted windows are not part of the standard MOT test and MOT testers have no method of testing windscreen tint, therefore saying your vehicle passed an MOT with illegal tints does not cause exemption from penalties.
An instrumented check is performed by a suitably trained officer with a “Tintman” VLT meter. These checks are either performed by a VOSA Technician or a Police Traffic Officer.
65%-46% VLT: Advise Only – The driver will be advised that the legal requirements have been breached.
45% – 30% VLT: Delayed Prohibition – The driver of the vehicle will be given a prohibition notice and will usually have 10 days to have the film removed, before going to a VOSA testing station to have the VLT re-checked. This is different to an mot test centre.
<30% VLT: Immediate Prohibition – The vehicle is considered seriously dangerous and cannot be driven until the film is removed. NON-INSTRUMENTAL CHECKS An officer with a “Tintman” can make a subjective assessment by sitting in the driver’s seat with both doors closed. If the Tints are very dark, and offer a restricted visibility, they will be deemed as dangerous and the officer will issue an immediate prohibition (same as <30% VLT, as above). If the level of visibility is not obviously dangerous, then the driver will be advised that the legal requirements may have been breached, thus putting the onus on the driver/owner to investigate further and rectify the windows. A number of high profile celebrities and footballers have had their cars impounded due to non-legal tints.