As an ever-evolving aspect of vehicle customisation and safety, windscreen tinting has seen numerous changes in regulations over the years.
This article aims to provide insights into regulatory changes in windscreen tinting within the Australian market, while also discussing the benefits and risks of tinting.
The Importance of Windscreen Tinting
Windscreen tinting is not just a matter of personal preference or aesthetics; it’s an essential feature that can significantly impact both comfort and safety.
Benefits of Windscreen Tinting
The primary benefits of windscreen tinting revolve around protection and comfort.
A good quality tint can protect from harmful UV rays, reduce heat inside the vehicle, and provide privacy. It also helps in reducing glare, thus improving driving safety.
Potential Risks of Improper Tinting
While the benefits of tinting are great, improper or excessive tinting can pose risks.
Overly dark tints can impair the driver’s visibility, especially under low-light conditions. It can also cause issues with law enforcement if the vehicle’s occupants aren’t clearly visible from the outside.
A Brief History of Windscreen Tinting Regulations in Australia
Windscreen tinting regulations have been a part of Australian vehicle standards for several decades.
The need for such regulations emerged with the advent and growing popularity of automotive window tinting during the mid to late 20th century.
Drivers sought the benefits of window tinting, such as reduced glare, increased privacy, and interior temperature control, especially in Australia’s often harsh and sunny climate.
Early Years – Lack of Restrictions
In the early years, there were few restrictions on window tinting, leading to a wide variation in the levels of tint applied.
This caused issues on the road, as excessively dark or reflective tints could impair visibility for the driver and create dangerous glare for other road users.
Recognising the need for a safer standard, Australian authorities began implementing regulations on window tinting.
A Standard Approach
The initial regulations focused primarily on limiting the level of light reduction caused by the tint.
A common standard became a Visible Light Transmission (VLT) of at least 35% on all windows behind the driver and an allowed tint strip on the topmost 10% of the windscreen.
These standards were designed to balance the benefits of window tinting with the need to maintain safe visibility for drivers.
Over the years, these regulations have been refined and updated to keep pace with advancements in tinting technology and changes in driving conditions.
Enforcement of the regulations also became stricter, with authorities using advanced devices like tint meters to accurately measure the VLT of vehicle windows.
Each state and territory in Australia also developed their own specific regulations, taking into account local climate and road conditions.
Understanding the Current Regulations
The latest amendments to windscreen tinting regulations in Australia involve changes in tinting materials, permissible limits of tinting, and standards for reflection and light transmittance.
These changes aim to strike a balance between the benefits of tinting and the potential safety risks associated with improper or excessive tinting.
The revised regulations have introduced new standards for tinting materials, with a focus on improving safety and durability.
The changes are aimed at ensuring that the materials used for tinting do not interfere with the driver’s visibility or the vehicle’s safety features.
Tinting Percentage Limits
The updated regulations have also made changes to the permissible limits for tinting.
These changes are designed to ensure adequate visibility for the driver while still allowing for the benefits of tinting. The limits vary based on the position of the window and the type of vehicle.
Reflection and Light Transmittance
The newest regulations also address the degree of light reflection and transmittance allowed by tinted windows.
These specifications are crucial to maintaining a balance between reducing glare and ensuring clear visibility for the driver.
The guidelines vary depending on the type and positioning of the window in the vehicle.
National Guidelines & State-by-State Variance
While a set of national standards guide the general windscreen tinting regulations in Australia, each state and territory has the authority to enact its own specific rules within this framework.
Understanding these differences or at least the specific rules that apply to your region is important for vehicle owners and tinting services operating in different parts of the country.
As a general guide:
- You should never add any tinting film anywhere on your windscreen.
- Only manufacturers are allowed to tint the top 10% of the windscreen.
- This tint strip must not cover any ADAS or other Driver Assistance sensors that are built into the vehicle.
How to Comply with the New Regulations
Ensuring compliance with the new windscreen tinting regulations can be straightforward if you follow certain steps.
This will not only keep you within the law but will also ensure the highest level of safety and performance from your tinted windows.
Checking Your Car’s Tint Level
If you are unsure about the level of tint on your windscreen, the best option is to check the current level of tint using a tint meter, a device that measures the amount of light transmitted through the glass.
Most professional tinting services or vehicle inspection stations should be able to provide this service.
Only Purchase Windscreen Glass From Trusted Suppliers
Choosing a professional and reputable windscreen supplier will ensure your new windscreen is compliant with the current regulations.
Never Add Tinting Film To Your Windscreen
If you purchase your windscreen from a compliant manufacturer and you don’t add any tinting film to your windscreen, then you will never have any issues with breaking the law.
The Future of Windscreen Tinting Regulations
The future of windscreen tinting regulations in Australia will continue to evolve in line with advancements in tinting technology and changing needs of the driving public.
Staying informed about these changes can help vehicle owners and tinting services stay ahead and ensure compliance.