UK Window Tinting Law

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.

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.

The front windscreen and front side windows must both let at least 70% of light through.


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.

Enforcement Guidelines
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.

Glasses for Driving

If you need to wear glasses in everyday life then the chances are that you need to wear glasses for driving. To be able to take the UK driving test you need to be able to read a car number plate at a distance of 20 metres. Any less than than this and you will not be able or allowed to take your test. However it is important to remember that this is the minimum. Someone with excellent vision should be able to read a number plate from further away than that.

Get Tested

If you need to get your eyesight tested checkout Glasses4U for all the relevant information. You may be able to get help with the cost of an eyesight test if you are on benefits, or some opticians such as Specsavers offer vouchers for free tests.

The sunday times reports that a significant majority of UK car users believe an eye test should be a mandatory part of the driving test. In November 2018, the Association of Optometrists also called for compulsory, regular “comprehensive vision checks” of motorists, in order for them to be allowed to keep their licence.

Even though the DVLA launched an awareness campaign in July 2018 to encourage British drivers to regularly have their eyes tested it seems that there are lots of drivers who continue to drive with defective vision. Cheap glasses can easily be obtained through Glasses 2 You.

Sofia Fazal, Professional Services Manager at ZEISS Vision Care UK said: “Our research shows that there is just as much appetite for a change in the law amongst the public as there is amongst road safety organisations”

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