As summer approaches and the daylight gets longer, so does the increase in the amount of light heating up your car. One inexpensive solution to the problem is getting a sun visor for your windshield. Another solution that costs a little more, and there are laws surrounding the option, is window tint.

You've all seen vehicles driving down the streets in towns across Louisiana that appear darker than what you think is legally allowed, and you'd be correct. The next question asked would be, "How do they get away with it?" Every year or two, vehicles in Louisiana are to be inspected at one of the many inspection stations to certify that everything is functioning on the vehicle, from the headlights to the horn, from functioning mirrors to window tint before receiving an inspection sticker.

staff photo
staff photo

Now, some of the vehicles you may see on the road with very dark tint have inspection stickers thanks to what has been called the 'Good Ole Boy Network'. You may even know someone who always brings their vehicle to a specific location because they can always get a sticker regardless of the condition of the vehicle. While this is a quick and easy solution, it also could make for an unsafe vehicle that could cause problems on the road in the future. From poor/non-functioning headlights and blinkers, as well as brake lights and more, there's a reason why vehicle inspections should be done at a legitimate location.

An important reason for the tint percentage is that law enforcement officials don't approach a vehicle with a driver/passenger who can't be seen before initial contact. There's always a chance that the individual inside the vehicle may have a weapon drawn without law enforcement being aware of the situation.

staff photo
staff photo

Yet, some vehicles that are properly inspected have window tint that is darker than state regulations. How can that happen? First, here's a review of what legal window tint requirements are for Louisiana:

  1. Windshields are allowed to have sunscreen extend down from the topmost portion of the windshield no more than 5 inches. The sunscreen shall be transparent and not red or amber in color. The windshield limitation for a vehicle that has a sunscreen certificate is 6 inches from the topmost portion of the windshield
  2. Front side windows must have at least 40 percent light transmission.
  3. Side windows behind the driver must have at least 25 percent light transmission
  4. The rearmost glass must have at least 12 percent light transmission
  5. Label. There must be a label affixed to the lower right corner of the driver's side window. It must not exceed 1 1/2 inches square in size. It must be installed between the glass and the sunscreen material and must contain the name and city of the installer
WIndow Tint Laws via YouTube
WIndow Tint Laws via YouTube

However, there are exceptions to the window tint regulations in Louisiana.

  • Medical condition  - requires a Window Tint Medical Exemption Affidavit
    • Medical conditions that provide Window Tint Exemption
      • Albinism
      • Lupus
      • Porphyria
      • Photophobia
      • (these are the only medical conditions recognized by the World Health Organization International Classifications of Disease ICD-9-CM. Visit with your physician or optometrist for additional medical conditions that apply)
    • You can submit a Medical Exemption form from the LSP website.
  • Security situation - Requires Window Tint Security Affidavit
    • The following are situations that would allow Security Affidavits
      • Private Investigators
      • Bail Enforcement Agents
      • Railroad Police Officers
      • Louisiana Peace Officers (POST-certified and sworn)
      • Elected or appointed public officials
    • You can learn more about Security Affidavits from the LSP website.

So, not all dark window-tinted vehicles are being driven illegally, but with the number of vehicles with very dark tint, is sure looks like there are plenty of private detectives on the roads today.

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