EXPLAINER: What are the laws on window tinting on vehicles in Ireland?

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EXPLAINER: What are the laws on window tinting on vehicles in Ireland?

What are the laws on window tinting in Ireland?

• Under roadworthiness testing laws, a vehicle’s windscreen and front side windows must have a light transmission or transparency level of at least 65% to pass the test.

• Under the Irish road traffic regulations, the driver must have a view to the front and side of the vehicle at all times necessary to enable them to drive safely.

An Garda Síochána currently have equipment to test the transparency level of windows at roadside checks. If a vehicle is found to have excessively tinted windows, both the owner and driver can be charged.


Why are heavily tinted windows illegal?

• Heavily tinted windows present a significant safety hazard for vehicle drivers and their occupants.

• Visibility is greatly reduced particularly at night time or times of low light and may prevent drivers from seeing other road users or pedestrians.

• There are also enforcement issues for An Garda Síochána in regard to driver recognition and the detection of driving offences e.g. holding a mobile phone while driving and other criminal activity.


Will my vehicle fail the roadworthiness test if I have tinted windows on the back? 

No. The tint restrictions only apply to the vehicle’s windscreen and front side windows.


What if my vehicle was originally manufactured with heavily tinted windows outside the EU?

The RSA recommends submitting a letter from the original manufacturer including the vehicle’s identification number to the NCT which confirms the original specification tint level for your vehicle’s windscreen and front side windows. 

Please note that apart from the roadworthiness test, if stopped by the Gardaí and your vehicles tinted windows prevent you from driving safely you could still be charged under road traffic legislation.


What if my vehicle is older?

Pre-1980 

Vintage cars pre-1980 currently do not have to be roadworthiness tested, however, if Gardaí feel your vehicle’s excessively tinted windscreen prevents you from driving safely you could still be charged under road traffic legislation.

1980 onwards

Your vehicle needs to be roadworthiness tested if used on the public road. Under roadworthiness testing laws, a vehicle’s windscreen and front side windows must have a light transparency of at least 65% in order to pass the test. Since 1998 cars manufactured or registered in the EU are required to meet with type approval legislation approved to European safety and quality standards and the light transmission limit set for approval is 70%.


If I have a medical condition and carry a doctor’s letter can I get a window tint exemption?

No. The roadworthiness testing legislation does not allow for any exemptions on medical grounds as the test refers to the vehicle itself not the driver or occupants of the vehicle. It is possible to get tint films which block UVA light, yet meet with the legal limit of 65% light transmission.


I bought a car and it failed the NCT on tinted windows. What are my options?

• If it is a tint film that is on your car these tend to be quite easily removed.

• If it is the glass itself that is excessively tinted these will have to be replaced on the windscreen and front side windows only.

Contact competitive and consumer protection commission (CCPC) for advice on consumer rights when purchasing a vehicle. The RSA strongly advise getting a vehicle independently checked by a qualified mechanic before purchasing.


Where can I find more specific information about the testing of tint levels?

Cars - HERE

Light Commercial Vehicles - HERE

Heavy Commercial Vehicles - HERE