In addition to selecting films that address your aesthetic, comfort, safety, and privacy concerns; it is important to consider Florida's legal statutes regarding the installation of window tint on your vehicle prior to installation. Please keep in mind that enforcement of window tinting statutes varies across the state, and that penalties for non-compliance can be significant, so consider the overview and summary of the below statutes as educational opinion and not legal fact.
First, interpreting Florida statutes regarding motor vehicle windows requires some background definition:
- F.S. 316.2951
Motor vehicle windows; definitions.—Whenever used in ss. 316.2951-316.2957, unless the context otherwise requires, the following terms have the following meanings:
- “Motor vehicle” means any vehicle as defined in s. 316.003, except vehicles used in farm husbandry, which is registered or required to be registered in the state.
- “multi-purpose passenger vehicle” means a motor vehicle with motive power designed to carry 10 persons or fewer which is constructed either on a truck chassis or with special features for occasional off-road operation.
- “Reflectance” means the ratio of the amount of total light, expressed in a percentage, which is reflected outward by the product or material to the amount of total light falling on the product or material.
- “Sunscreening material” means a product or material, including film, glazing, and perforated sunscreening, which, when applied to the windshield or windows of a motor vehicle, reduces the effects of the sun with respect to light reflectance or transmittance.
- “Transmittance” means the ratio of the amount of total light, expressed in a percentage, which is allowed to pass through the product or material, including glazing, to the amount of total light falling on the product or material and the glazing.
- “Window” means any device designed for exterior viewing from a motor vehicle, except the windshield, any roof-mounted viewing device, and any viewing device having less than 150 square inches in area.
- “Windshield” means the front exterior viewing device of a motor vehicle.
Next, let's look at the requirements and restrictions placed on windshields:
- F.S. 316.2952
Windshields; requirements; restrictions.—
- A windshield in a fixed and upright position, which windshield is equipped with safety glazing as required by federal safety-glazing material standards, is required on every motor vehicle which is operated on the public highways, roads, and streets, except on a motorcycle or implement of husbandry.
A person shall not operate any motor vehicle on any public highway, road, or street with any sign, sunscreening material, product, or covering attached to, or located in or upon, the windshield, except the following:
- A certificate or other paper required to be displayed by law.
- Sunscreening material along a strip at the top of the windshield, so long as such material is transparent and does not encroach upon the driver’s direct forward viewing area as more particularly described and defined in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards No. 205 as the AS-1 portion of the windshield.
- A device, issued by a governmental entity as defined in s. 334.03, or its designee, for the purpose of electronic toll payments.
- A global positioning system device or similar satellite receiver device that uses the global positioning system operated pursuant to 10 U.S.C. s. 2281 to obtain navigation, to improve driver safety as a component of safety monitoring equipment capable of providing driver feedback, or to otherwise route information while the motor vehicle is being operated.
- The windshield on every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a device for cleaning rain, snow, or other moisture from the windshield, which device shall be constructed as to be controlled or operated by the driver of the vehicle.
- Every windshield wiper upon a motor vehicle shall be maintained in good working order.
- Grove equipment, including “goats,” “highlift-goats,” grove chemical supply tanks, fertilizer distributors, fruit-loading equipment, and electric-powered vehicles regulated under the provisions of s. 316.267, are exempt from the requirements of this section. However, such electric-powered vehicles shall have a windscreen approved by the department sufficient to give protection from wind, rain, or insects, and such windscreen shall be in place whenever the vehicle is operated on the public roads and highways.
- A former military vehicle is exempt from the requirements of this section if the department determines that the exemption is necessary to maintain the vehicle’s accurate military design and markings. However, whenever the vehicle is operating on the public roads and highways, the operator and passengers must wear eye-protective devices approved by the department. For purposes of this subsection, “former military vehicle” means a vehicle, including a trailer, regardless of the vehicle’s size, weight, or year of manufacture, that was manufactured for use in any country’s military forces and is maintained to represent its military design and markings accurately.
- A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
Statute regarding restrictions on front side windows:
- F.S. 316.2953
Side windows; restrictions on sunscreening material.—
- A person shall not operate any motor vehicle on any public highway, road, or street on which vehicle the side wings and side windows on either side forward of or adjacent to the operator’s seat are composed of, covered by, or treated with any sunscreening material or other product or covering which has the effect of making the window nontransparent or which would alter the window’s color, increase its reflectivity, or reduce its light transmittance, except as expressly permitted by this section. A sunscreening material is authorized for such windows if, when applied to and tested on the glass of such windows on the specific motor vehicle, the material has a total solar reflectance of visible light of not more than 25 percent as measured on the nonfilm side and a light transmittance of at least 28 percent in the visible light range. A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
Statute regarding restrictions on back side and rear windows:
- F.S. 316.2954
Windows behind the driver; restrictions on sunscreening material.—
A person shall not operate any motor vehicle on any public highway, road, or street on which vehicle any windows behind the driver are composed of, covered by, or treated with any sunscreening material, or other product or material which has the effect of making the window nontransparent or which would alter the window’s color, increase its reflectivity, or reduce its light transmittance, except as specified below:
- Sunscreening material consisting of film which, when applied to and tested on the rear window glass of the specific motor vehicle, has a total solar reflectance of visible light of not more than 35 percent as measured on the nonfilm side and a light transmittance of at least 15 percent in the visible light range; however, sunscreening material which, when applied to and tested on the rear window glass of the specific motor vehicle, has a total solar reflectance of visible light of not more than 35 percent as measured on the nonfilm side and a light transmittance of at least 6 percent in the visible light range may be used on multi-purpose passenger vehicles.
- Perforated sunscreening material which, when tested in conjunction with existing glazing or film material, has a total reflectance of visible light of not more than 35 percent and a light transmittance of no less than 30 percent. For those products or materials having different levels of reflectance, the highest reflectance from the product or material will be measured by dividing the area into 16 equal sections and averaging the overall reflectance. The measured reflectance of any of those sections may not exceed 50 percent.
- Louvered materials, if the installation of the materials does not reduce driver visibility by more than 50 percent.
- Privacy drapes, curtains and blinds, provided such covering is in an open and secure position when the motor vehicle is being operated on any public highway, road, or street.
- A person shall not operate any motor vehicle upon any public highway, road, or street, on which vehicle the rear window is composed of, covered by, or treated with any material which has the effect of making the window nontransparent, unless the vehicle is equipped with side mirrors on both sides that meet the requirements of s. 316.294.
- A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
- A person shall not operate any motor vehicle on any public highway, road, or street on which vehicle any windows behind the driver are composed of, covered by, or treated with any sunscreening material, or other product or material which has the effect of making the window nontransparent or which would alter the window’s color, increase its reflectivity, or reduce its light transmittance, except as specified below:
Statute regarding materials, labeling, and tolerances:
- F.S. 316.2955
Window sunscreening material; compliance labeling; tolerances.—
- Each installer or seller of sunscreening material shall provide a pressure-sensitive, self-destructive, nonremovable, vinyl-type film label to the purchaser stating that the material complies with the provisions of ss. 316.2951-316.2954. Each such installer shall affix the required label to the inside left door jamb of the motor vehicle. In addition, the label shall state the trade name of the material and the installer's or seller's business name. Labeling is not required for factory glazing which complies with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 205.
- Every percentage measurement required by ss. 316.2951-316.2954 is subject to a tolerance of plus or minus 3 percent.
Penalties for violation of the above statutes:
- F.S. 316.2956
Violation of provisions relating to windshields, windows, and sunscreening materials; penalties.—
- Any person who operates a motor vehicle on which, after June 20, 1984, material was installed in violation of ss. 316.2951-316.2954 commits a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
- The replacement or repair of any material legally installed is not a violation of ss. 316.2951-316.2954.
- Any person who sells or installs sunscreening material in violation of any provision of ss. 316.2951-316.2955 is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Lastly, exemptions from the above statutes:
- F.S. 316.29545
Window sunscreening exclusions; medical exemptions; certain law enforcement vehicles and private investigative service vehicles exempt.—
- The department shall issue medical exemption certificates to persons who are afflicted with Lupus, any autoimmune disease, or other medical conditions which require a limited exposure to light, which certificates shall entitle the person to whom the certificate is issued to have sunscreening material on the windshield, side windows, and windows behind the driver which is in violation of the requirements of ss. 316.2951-316.2957. The department shall consult with the Medical Advisory Board established in s. 322.125 for guidance with respect to the autoimmune diseases and other medical conditions which shall be included on the form of the medical certificate authorized by this section. At a minimum, the medical exemption certificate shall include a vehicle description with the make, model, year, vehicle identification number, medical exemption decal number issued for the vehicle, and the name of the person or persons who are the registered owners of the vehicle. A medical exemption certificate shall be nontransferable and shall become null and void upon the sale or transfer of the vehicle identified on the certificate.
- The department shall exempt all law enforcement vehicles used in undercover or canine operations from the window sunscreening requirements of ss. 316.2951-316.2957.
- The department shall exempt from the window sunscreening restrictions of ss. 316.2953, 316.2954, and 316.2956 vehicles that are owned or leased by private investigators or private investigative agencies licensed under chapter 493.
- The department may charge a fee in an amount sufficient to defray the expenses of issuing a medical exemption certificate as described in subsection (1).
- The department is authorized to promulgate rules for the implementation of this section.
The first statute defines two vehicle classifications: sedans and multi-purpose vehicles. Generally speaking, a sedan is a standard two or four door car and a multi-purpose vehicle is a sport utility vehicle (SUV), recreational vehicle (RV), pickup truck, panel-van, mini-van, camper, mini-bus, or similar vehicle. This delineation is important as the regulations and restrictions are different for the two vehicle classes.
The first statute also defines the way in which visible light reflectance and visible light transmittance is to be measured: NET VLR% and NET VLT%. Simply put, these are measurements of the percentage of visible light reflected by or transmitted through the glass and film combined.
The second statute states that a window tinting strip may only be installed along the AS-1 portion of the windshield. Most windshields have a line labeled AS-1 that is imprinted near the top of the window, and in Florida you may install any type of transparent window tinting above this line so long as it does not obstruct the driver's view.
The third statute states that the front side windows cannot be opaque or colored, and that any tinting applied to these windows must register 25% NET VLR or less and 28% NET VLT or more.
The fourth statute states that the back side and rear windows cannot be opaque or colored, and that any tinting applied to these windows on a sedan must register 35% NET VLR or less and 15% NET VLT or more. Alternatively, any tinting applied to these windows on a multi-purpose vehicle must register 35% NET VLR or less and 6% NET VLT or more.
The fifth statute states that window tinting installers must provide a vinyl label indicating the installed materials, the installer's business name, and that the installed materials comply with the above provisions. This label is to be installed inside the driver door jamb of the vehicle.
The sixth statute states that a person operating a vehicle with nonconforming window tinting products is guilty of a non-moving violation for which the penalty is currently $116 per infraction. This means that each window in violation of the above statutes can be considered a separate infraction resulting in significant fines. Further, any person who sells or installs window tinting in violation of the above statutes is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree for which the penalty is up to 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines.
The seventh statute states that, for a fee, people sensitive to light can request a medical exemption certificate allowing the installation of window tinting in violation of the above statutes. Further, undercover or canine law enforcement vehicles, and vehicles owned or leased by private investigators are exempt from these regulations.
All that said, here is a simplified summary of Florida's window tinting laws:
Windshield: Transparent tinting allowed above the AS-1 line (no VLR or VLT restrictions).
Front side windows: 25% NET VLR or less; 28% NET VLT or more.
Back side and rear windows on cars: 35% NET VLR or less; 15% NET VLT or more.
Back side and rear windows on multi-purpose vehicles: 35% NET VLR or less; 6% NET VLT or more.
Colors: No colored films are allowed.
Penalty for operator violation: guilty of non-moving violation with fine of $116 per infraction.
Penalty for seller/installer violation: guilty of second-degree misdemeanor with fine up to $500 and imprisonment up to 60 days.
Exemptions: Medical exemptions for those sensitive to light can be requested with this form: FLHSMV Medical Exemption Application.
- International Window Film Association: Automotive Window Tinting Law Charts
- Link: https://iwfa.com/news-events/state-law-charts.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 205
- Link: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2010-title49-vol6/pdf/CFR-2010-title49-vol6-sec571-205.pdf.
- The 2018 Florida Statutes: Chapter 316 - State Uniform Traffic Control
- Link: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/0316.html.
- The 2018 Florida Statutes: Chapter 318 - Disposition of Traffic Infractions
- Link: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0318/0318ContentsIndex.html.
- The 2018 Florida Statutes: Chapter 322 - Drivers Licenses
- Link: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0322/0322ContentsIndex.html.
- The 2018 Florida Statutes: Chapter 775 - General Penalties; Registration of Criminals
- Link: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0775/0775ContentsIndex.html.