This article will walk you through Delaware’s window tinting law. It will cover the key numbers you need to know when installing window tint as well as in-depth coverage on the law.
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Auto Parts & Accessories
Delaware Window Tint Law Key Facts
- Year law enacted: 1992
- Tint length on front windshield: not specified
- Front side window VLT: not specified
- Back side window VLT: not specified
- Back windshield VLT: not specified
- Front side window reflectivity: not specified
- Back side window reflectivity: not specified
- Restricted colors: not specified
- Medical exemption: yes
- Tolerance: not specified
What the Law Says
Delaware window tinting law can be found in Delaware code § 4313, which provides in relevant part:
Safety glass — Federal safety standards applicable to windshield, front side windows and side wings; window tinting
(a) No person shall operate any motor vehicle on any public highway, road or street with the front windshield, the side windows to the immediate right and left of the driver and/or side wings forward of and to the left and right of the driver that do not meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 205 in effect at the time of its manufacture.
(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of any products or materials along the top edge of the windshield so long as such products or materials are transparent and do not encroach upon the AS-1 portion of the windshield as provided by FMVSS 205 and [former] FMVSS 128.
(c) No person shall operate any motor vehicle on any public highway, road or street which does not conspicuously display a certificate by the manufacturer of any “after manufacture” window tinting material which may have been installed that such window tinting material meets the requirements of FMVSS 205 in effect at the time of the vehicle’s manufacture. It shall be a valid defense to any charge under this subsection if the person so charged produces in court a validated mandatory inspection notice showing that the Division of Motor Vehicles has examined the motor vehicle since the date of offense and certifies compliance with FMVSS 205.
What This Means
This means that Delaware does not have its own restrictions on window tinting, but instead only requires that tinting comply with whatever version of the federal law regarding window tinting was in effect at the time of the vehicle’s manufacture. Federal standards for window tinting can be difficult to locate and many publishers offer the information for sale for as much as $70.
This is because the standards are meant for the tinting and glaze manufacturers and not for the end user of the material. Therefore, when purchasing window tinting from a manufacturer or installer, you should ask them to provide with you written confirmation that the tinting or glaze complies with federal code § 571.205 and the standards set forth by the American National Standards Institute (“ANSI”).
Exceptions to the Window Tinting Law
Delaware window tinting law provides an exemption for those who have a medical condition which requires that they be shielded from the sun. In order to obtain the exemption, one must carry with them a statement signed by a licensed physician or optometrist, verifying that the window tinting is medically necessary.
Antique cars and street rods are also exempt from the window tinting law, so long a the tinted glass is anodized glass and is correctly installed. In order for a vehicle to be considered antique or a street rod, it must be insured under such a designation or it must meet the legal definition of an antique vehicle or street rod.
Certain police vehicles are also exempt from Delaware’s window tinting laws.
Delaware law defines “antique vehicle” as any vehicle manufactured more than 25 years prior to the current year, which has been maintained in or restored to a condition substantially in conformity with manufacture’s specifications. Vehicles which have been substantially altered in appearance or have had the horsepower or dimensions changed do not qualify as antique.
The law defines “street rod” as any vehicle whose body or frame was manufactured prior to 1970, and which has been modified for safe road use. It may also mean a kit car that resembles an original pre-1970 vehicle and has been modified for safe road use.
In State v. Trower, the Delaware Court ruled that window tinting which was dark enough so as to conceal the identity of the vehicles occupants, reasonable suspicion existed for an officer to stop the vehicle for an equipment violation.
21 Del. C. § 4313 (2014)
21 Del. C. § 2196 (2014)
21 Del. C. § 2197(2014)
49 CFR 571.205
State v. Trower, 931 A.2d 456 (Del. Super. Ct. 2007).
Related: Connecticut Window Tint — Law & VLT