Tinted Windows

If you have ever traveled on Anchorage roads, you have probably seen it - a vehicle with darkly tinted windows.  It may cause you pause, or may even have you consider applying tinted film on your own vehicle windows.  Whether you may want to control glare, provide privacy, or enhance your vehicle’s appearance; there are important safety facts and tips to consider:

The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) sets the standard for automobile manufacturers as it relates to the tinting or glazing of windows [Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 205, Glazing Materials (49 CFR §571.205)].  A provision in Standard No. 205 requires a minimum of 70 percent light transmittance in any glazing area requisite for driving visibility.

The primary purpose of this requirement is to ensure adequate visibility through the vehicle's windows, thereby reducing the risk of a motor vehicle crash.  In passenger cars, almost all windows are considered requisite for driving visibility.  The Mercedes in the photograph on the left is an example of heavy aftermarket tinting and is illegal in Alaska.

In trucks and multipurpose vehicles like some vans or sport utility vehicles (MPVs are designated by manufacturer and usually posted near the VIN), the rear and rear side windows (rearward of the “C” pillar) are considered not requisite for driving visibility and therefore come from the manufacturer with privacy glass or windows darker than the minimum of 70 percent light transmittance.

It is illegal in the State of Alaska (13 AAC 04.223) and within the Municipality of Anchorage (AMC 09.36.045) to have mirrored tinting material or aftermarket tint on any of your windows with the following exceptions:

  1. The glass immediately in front of the driver may have a strip of tinting material applied to the top edge, known in the industry as “eyebrow,” which does not extend downward more than five inches from the top of the glass.
  2. The windows immediately to the driver’s right and left may have tinting material that permits at least 70 percent light transmittance.
  3. The rear door windows, quarter glasses, and back glasses may have tinting material that permits at least 40 percent light transmittance.
  4. 4Limousines and passenger buses used to transport persons for hire, motor homes and vehicles identified by the vehicles manufacturer as multipurpose may have tinting material that complies with Standard No. 205, Glazing Materials, in 49 C.F.R. 471.205/571.205 (1992).
  5. The windows of a vehicle may have tinting material that permits less light transmittance than that specified if the driver or passenger who frequently travels in the vehicle is required for medical reasons to be shielded from the direct rays of the sun, the medical reasons are certified annually by a physician licensed to practice in this state, and the certification is carried in the vehicle.

Consider the 70 percent light transmittance requirement; most new vehicles today have the front windshield, and the front driver or front passenger windows at or just above the specified requirement.  Therefore, any film tint added will most likely make your front windows illegal.  If you are considering having your windows tinted, or, if you own a vehicle with tinted windows please keep in mind that during the early morning and evening hours (especially in the fall or winter months), it is most important to be able to have maximum visibility out of your windows.  

Bottom line - if you keep your vehicle in factory condition by not adding tint film and keep your windows clean and free of obstructions, you will maximize your visibility and reduce the chance of a collision.  You will also reduce the chance of being stopped and cited.

The Anchorage Police Department primarily enforces the municipal ordinance for tinted windows.

Violations are considered correctable or "fix it" traffic offenses.  The citation will indicate zero points, with a $300 fine and $10 surcharge if the deficiency is not corrected within a specified amount of time. The corrected vehicle and copy of the citation must be taken to APD Headquarters where a tint meter will be used to confirm the correction.

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