Do Tinted Windows Prevent or Cause Car Accidents?
On the afternoon of November 15, 2014, a 15-year-old jogger was struck and killed by a pickup truck in Staten Island, New York, but the driver was not drinking, texting, or otherwise distracted. He was not criminally charged but did receive two citations: one for failure to exercise due care, and the other for tinted windows.
In 2015, the jogger’s mother filed a lawsuit in the matter, alleging that the truck’s windows and windshield were tinted in a way that prevented it from being operated safely.
Window Tinting Laws in Colorado
The opacity of window tinting is measured according to visible light transmission percentage (VLT), which means the amount of visible light that is allowed to come through the film and the window itself. Any tinting done by the manufacturer is legal, but some after-market forms are not. According to Colorado law:
- Non-reflective 7 percent VLT window tint is allowed on the top four inches of the windshield.
- Window tinting is allowed on the side windows if it allows a minimum of 27 percent VLT.
- Any percentage of window tinting is allowed on the rear window as long as there is no tint on the front two windows.
- No red or amber tint is allowed.
- Mirrors are required if the back windows are tinted.
- No window tinting that appears metallic or mirrored is allowed on front, side, or back windows, although tinting that contains metallic elements is allowed.
- Tinting film manufacturers aren’t required to certify the film they sell in Colorado.
Pros and Cons of Window Tinting
Window tinting has increased in popularity over the past several years, and there are benefits associated with tinting the windows of a vehicle, such as:
- Keeping the interior of a vehicle cooler. Window tint is designed to block more than 70 percent of the sun’s energy from entering a vehicle, maintain a cooler temperature when parked in the sun, keep you cooler as you drive, and minimize the need for air conditioning.
- Window tint can block up to 99 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays, substantially decreasing your exposure if you spend a lot of time in your vehicle.
- Car windows frequently shatter during a collision, exposing passengers to flying glass, but tinted windows can cause the glass to break in one piece as opposed to shattering, minimizing the risk of injury.
- Window tinting can reduce eyestrain, glare, and reflection from snow and water on the road.
- Thieves may decide to break into a vehicle because they spot something worth stealing, such as electronic equipment or a handbag, but tint will prevent them from seeing valuables, and will also conceal a built-in car alarm.
Excessive tinting, however, can obstruct vision and cause car accidents and other dangerous situations, particularly when visibility is already less than ideal, such as during heavy snow, rain, or fog.
Although window tinting has many benefits, if done illegally, it can become a safety hazard. If you have been injured in an auto accident that may have been caused by excessive window tinting, contact an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney.