Staying Cool and Safe: Window Tinting and Automobile Accidents
Summer temperatures in Denver frequently hover somewhere between the 70s and the 90s, and there are approximately 300 sunny days each year. Getting into a hot car after it’s been sitting in the sun is an unpleasant experience that makes tinted windows increasingly popular to many people.
But before you opt for tinted windows, consider the advantages, disadvantages, and the applicable laws.
Pros and Cons of Tinted Windows
There are many benefits to motor vehicle window tinting, including:
- Reducing sun, snow, and headlight glare
- Blocking harmful UV rays
- Preventing eyestrain
- Eliminating the need for sunscreen for drivers and passengers
- Controlling heat inside the vehicle and reducing the demand for air conditioning
- Protecting upholstery
- Helping prevent theft and maintain privacy
Although tinted windows can help increase safety and prevent car accidents, they can also contribute to accidents if the tinting substantially reduces driver visibility. Some tint is reflective, meaning that it reduces glare and heat, but the tint cannot be more reflective than a standard window, and back and rear car windows typically have different standards that front tinting. Window tinting is allowed in most states, and is regulated by state law.
Colorado Window Tinting Rules
Darkness of window tint is measured by Visible Light Transmission percentage, or VLT%. In Colorado, this percentage means the percentage of visible light allowed in through the combination of film and the window. Regarding sedans, SUVs, and vans, non-reflective tint is allowed on the top four inches of the windshield; the front and rear passenger windows and the back window must allow more than 27 percent of light in, according to the Colorado Window Tint Law of 1995.
Although the tinting film may contain some metallic elements that help in reflecting incoming light and reducing the glare and heat generated by visible light, the tint can have no metallic or mirrored appearance. Other Colorado rules and regulations regarding window tinting include:
- The tint color of red or amber is illegal under state law.
- Dual side mirrors are required if the back window is tinted.
- State law recommends but does not require stickers that identify legal tinting.
- Manufacturers of film are not required to certify the film they sell in Colorado
Tinted Windows and Insurance Rates
Tinting your car windows will usually not cause your insurance rates to increase, as long as the tinting is not illegal in the state in which you reside. But if a tinted window needs replacing, there is a chance that your insurance company might only replace the window to its original manufacturer’s specifications, which would likely be without any level of tint, although if you want your tinted windows included in your car insurance, you may pay a higher premium for the coverage.
Tinted Windows and Accident Liability
If you have been involved in an automobile accident that might have been caused by the other driver’s tinted windows, be sure to take pictures of the car and the scene before the evidence is removed or destroyed. Tinted windows may become an important part of the theory of liability regarding an automobile accident, especially if the degree of tint is illegal.
Image by Brandon Rivera