Window Tinting Films

tinted side windowsWindow tinting looks cool, keeps your vehicle interior cool, or hides your vehicle contents from potential thieves. The drawback with tinting certain windows is that it limits the driver's ability to see and be seen. It is also illegal and may result in enforcement action in the form of either a ticket or a repair order.

One of the rules of defensive driving is to make eye contact with other drivers. A wise pedestrian will also make eye contact with a driver to insure that they have been seen before walking in front of a vehicle. This is impossible for other drivers and pedestrians if you have darkened side windows.

Studies indicate that seniors are particularly affected by window tinting. Their ability to identify and react to low contrast targets is significantly compromised by the light transmission restriction of the film. This applies to a lesser extent to all of us, regardless of age.

The Motor Vehicle Act Regulations are very specific about any film that reduces the light transmitted by a window. You will note that there is no mention of how light or dark the film is. If it reduces the light transmitted in any way, it may only be applied on certain windows of the vehicle.

Film may be applied to the top three inches of the windshield or to any of the side windows behind the driver's shoulders. The film may also be applied to the rear window if the vehicle is equipped with an outside mirror on both sides. Film must not be applied to the windows of the driver and front passenger doors.

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Submitted by E-mail

I am amazed that the RCMP past or present would enforce a law that is such a double standard. My case and point. A few years ago in Kelowna I was driving with my son when we were stopped at a seatbelt check. After the Member confirmed that Both of us were wearing our belts,he proceeded to advise me that I was going to be given a ticket for the side window film in my 1979 Fully Restored Chevrolet Silverado 4X4.I asked the member as to why, as he explained to me, (almost in your own words) the reasoning for not having side window tint, Which I fully agreed to. I then pointed out that my side window tint was the very minimum tint available, it was more of a protection from UV rays for the vehicles interior, and as I had shown the member, pedestrians could very easily see me in the vehicle if I were either moving or stopped.The member stuck to his guns and said, I do not write the laws, I just enforce them. At this point I knew his mind was made up. I had a look in my rearview mirror to see how many people I was delaying, when I noticed a brand new Chevrolet Silverado directly behind me, which I know can be purchased (and this one was) with Full Black window tint on the Driver and passenger front side windows.I pointed out to the member that the truck behind me had better be ticketed as well, and that is when his convincing reason for ticketing me in the first place began to unravel. I was now advised that since the newer cars and trucks can now come from the factory with full side window tint available this law does not apply to them.(so much for the poor pedestrian theory). I took the ticket and headed to the RCMP Office and spoke with the Watch Commander,I explained to him the issue and he laughed, saying someone must be having a bad day, and he was not referring to me.He told me he would reduce the ticket to a warning If I removed the tint (which I did) and Also advised me he was surprised the ticket was written in the first place as he could not even tell my windows were tinted from where I was parked across the street, And that was the first time he had heard of someone getting a ticket for window tint.

Film vs Tint Incorporated Into the Glass

There are two ways of tinting glass, one is by applying something to the glass and the other is incorporating the tint into the glass. When you speak of factory tint, it is tint incorporated into the glass and it is subject to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act Regulations which require the glass to meet ANSI Z26 safety standards. The glass is marked with AS grades and front side windows must be AS-1, AS-2, AS-10 or AS-11. This is NOT full tint, and anything other than these grades is subject to enforcement action.

Part of the problem is that vehicles are often diverted to companies that modify vehicles between the factory and the dealership. People see something that has been illegally modified on display in a dealership as a new vehicle and automatically assume that what they are seeing is legal.

Unfortunately, our watch commander is part of the problem as well. He has no business making the decision he did without the agreement of the constable that wrote the ticket. It is also very poor form to make the comment that he did. I had something similar happen to me where the watch commander had extensive experience with drug enforcement and none with traffic enforcement. I went to him and suggested that if someone ever asked me for advice about drug enforcement, I would defer to him as he had the experience, and not minimize the advice he would give. I also said that I would expect him to do the same with me for traffic related matters. I think I made an impression.

Hi, does one know at what

Hi, does one know at what point a "Mirror finish" becomes illegal?

I preseume that a window company that is transporting a large mirror in a vertical position is required to cover it while on the roadway so as not to distract/blind other drivers or pedestrians.

I have seen some vehicles with a 'mirror finish' tinted windows that are not fully like a mirror, but they are say half of a mirror-reflective state.

What are the laws regarding this? Where do I find out this info, if you don't know?

Many thanks, great website!

Contrary to Vehicle Inspection Manual

The vehicle inspection manual advises that a vehicle must be rejected if any window film is a reflective (silvered) type. Since these standards are set under the Motor Vehicle Act, failure to follow them would be an offence:

219 (1) A person must not drive or operate a motor vehicle or trailer on a highway or rent a motor vehicle or trailer unless it is equipped in all respects in compliance with this Act and the regulations.

Window tinting

From what I have been seeing lately, the RCMP is in love with super dark window tint on their unmarked Suburbans and Explorers.  During the day, it seems thats the easiest way to pick them out, if you can't see through the car windows, most likely its an unmarked patrol car. Same thing at night but its a little harder to spot.  No one wants to be caught passing one of these, even at a slow speed. Its one of my cardinal rules.  

Window Tint 2.0


I have been reading all the comments with interest. Our two families will be moving from Manitoba to Kelowna in the fall. Our vehicle and my son's truck are both tinted, we bought them both used. So what do we do?

I understand the rational of no tint on the front doors is that the fire dept. won't be able to extracate you from the vehicle, well we own a PT Cruiser and there's no way they'd get us through those windows.

Comments appreciated. 

Vehicle Inspection

Once you have moved here you will be required to license your vehicle in B.C. Part of that process is undergoing inspection at a designated inspection facility. You will not pass with illegal tint installed so it would be best to start investigating removal.

Window tint 2.0

The tint is 50% ( I'm not talking about 35 or 20%), you can see well at night, and it cuts some of the glare during the day. I have no problem seeing bicycles, or pedestrians at night. So if I have this on my front doors they will make me remove it?

Tint Removal

If it is tint applied to the surface of the glass, it must be removed.

If it is tint incorporated into the glass by the glass manufacturer and does not meet standards or is not marked to standard, it must be removed.

I never heard that idea, before!

I understand the rational of no tint on the front doors is that the fire dept. won't be able to extracate you from the vehicle, well we own a PT Cruiser and there's no way they'd get us through those windows.

Comments appreciated.

I had always assumed that tinted windows on the front doors were illegal because they could not only spoil a driver's ability to see through them at night, but also make it impossible to see the driver - and where he/she is looking. I hate 'em, being in the habit of seeking eye contact with any other road user who I might be in potential conflict with.

As for extraction of the occupants following a crash, the windshield makes the most sense; apart from the likelihood that the passenger's airbag will probably have popped it out of shape from the inside, it's a much bigger space to get a body through without causing further injury.

But hey, as our site host has said, your vehicle(s) will be subject to a Government Inspection here in BC as a condition of licensing and insurance being provided. There's lots of useful information on that, here, including mention of the New West Partnership Trade Agreement.

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