The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today released a new video designed to educate consumers on New York State’s new window tinting law, which went into effect on January 1, 2017 and requires window tint testing during annual motor vehicle inspections. While testing during the vehicle inspection is new, the tinting standards are not. Since 1992, New York State law has required that all windshield and front side windows allow at least 70 percent of outside light to pass through. The new law is designed to better protect law enforcement by keeping vehicles with excessive tinting off the road.
“New York’s requirements for window tinting are the same as federal requirements for window tinting,” said Steven Cooper, Director of Vehicle Safety for New York State DMV. “Therefore the vast majority of cars are already compliant when you buy them. It’s only after-market or additional tinting added to a window that may cause a problem. We don’t anticipate that this will affect how long an inspection takes to be conducted or how long it will take for a consumer to get their car inspected.”
The new tinting rules
Window tinting that is too dark for law enforcement officers to see through puts them at risk during routine traffic stops. Law enforcement officers have issued approximately 710,000 tickets for violations of the law since 2012. If a law enforcement officer pulls you over, the penalty for illegal window tinting can be up to $150.
DMV advises New Yorkers to always get a vehicle inspection completed prior to the expiration date. Under this new law, vehicles with illegal window tints will fail their annual vehicle inspection. If you fail an inspection due to illegal tinting, as long as the sticker is still valid, you have until the expiration date to address the issue.
New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law does not allow a windshield or front side windows to block more than 30 percent of the light coming into a vehicle, meaning that 70 percent or more of the light from the outside must pass through the window. This law also applies to the rear window unless the vehicle has outside rear-view mirrors on both sides that provide the driver with a full and clear view behind the vehicle. Rear side windows must also allow at least 70 percent of light from the outside to pass through the window if the vehicle is classified as a station wagon, sedan, hardtop, coupe, hatchback or convertible. A vehicle falls into one of these categories if it is labeled “Passenger Car” on the Federal ID label found on the left front door panel. But if the label says MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), truck, bus, etc., then the vehicle’s side windows to the rear of the driver’s seat are exempt from widow tint inspection.
State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “Illegally tinted windows prevent a law enforcement officer from clearly seeing the driver or passengers inside a vehicle, creating a significant safety hazard. Adding window tint examinations to vehicle inspections is a simple procedure that will result in increased safety at vehicle stops for law enforcement, drivers and passengers.”
New York State Health Department regulations specify that the following medical conditions may be used to justify an exemption from the limits on light transmittance: Porphyria, Xeroderma Pigmentosa, Severe Drug Photo-Sensitivity
If you suffer from one of these medical conditions, you may request an exemption from the law using the Application for Tinted Window Exemption (MV-80W).
State law requires that all vehicles registered in New York must get a safety inspection at a DMV-licensed inspection station every 12 months and also when the ownership of the vehicle is transferred.