How Ohio’s Vehicle Window Tinting Law Affects You

Ohio residents interested in tinting their car windows, or purchasing a vehicle with tinted windows, need to be aware of state laws related to their use. Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 4501-41, Transparent, Nontransparent, Translucent, and Reflectorized Materials on Windows of Vehicles, is referenced by authorities when checking a vehicle for compliance. This article covers what is in the code and what consumers need to know before operating a vehicle with tinted windows.

Window tint is measured using the percentage of Visible Light Transmission, or VLT. A higher percentage means more light is allowed to pass through. VLT is measured as a combination of manufacturer factory tinting and any additional tinting applied. These are the minimum limits for VLT in vehicles operated in Ohio:

– Windshield: 70%
– Front Side Windows: 50%
– Back Side Windows: No restrictions.
– Rear Windows: No restrictions.

In addition to the level of tinting, there are other restrictions and requirements. These include:

– It is illegal for a motor vehicle dealer to sell a vehicle that does not conform to the specifications outlined in the law.
– Film used to tint windows must be certified with the state of Ohio.
– If the back window is tinted, the vehicle must have dual side mirrors.
– Red and yellow tint colors are not allowed.
– A sticker that identifies the tint as being legal must be installed between the tint film and the glass on each window that is tinted.

There are exemptions to the law that allow for tinting that exceeds the specifications listed, under certain circumstances.

– If a person has a medical condition which requires additional tinting, they should obtain an affidavit from an optometrist licensed by the state. The affidavit should be kept at all times in any vehicles that are registered in their name.
– Chauffeured limousines have no tinting restrictions for windows behind the driver’s side windows.
– Hearses and other vehicles designed to transport corpses are not restricted on the use of window tinting.

Ohio revised code 4513.241, using tinted glass and other vision obscuring materials, covers penalties for those violating laws restricting the use of tinted glass in motor vehicles. Violation of the law is punishable as a misdemeanor. Those who install tint on a vehicle may also face civil penalties. Vehicle dealers and repair shop owners who have multiple convictions for installing illegal window tinting may lose their business license for up to 180 days.

Ohio state law is very clear on how much window tint is allowed. Vehicle owners and businesses that would like to offer window tinting services need to be aware of the limits imposed by the state and make sure not to exceed them. Those who feel they should be exempt for medical or professional reasons should contact the Ohio State Motor Vehicle Repair Board for information on tint installers or the Department of Transportation for guidance on receiving an exemption.