We are often asked tinting questions like:
“Can I tint my front windshield?“
“What percent of tint can my front doors be?“
So, we wanted to provide an answer even though we do not directly offer tinting services.
All modern automotive windows are tinted, at least mildly, from factory; although, that is not likely why you’re looking at this article. There are specific rules and regulations for adding aftermarket films to your windows.
Windshield and Driver’s Row Doors:
According to the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, you cannot drive with film of any kind applied to the windshield or doors directly to the left, or right, of the driver.
Quotation from the Traffic Safety Act:
“70(1) A person shall not install, replace or cover the window
glazing in a windshield or in a left or right side window of a motor vehicle
that is beside or forward of the driver with a transparent, translucent or
Sub-Section 72.3 “Prohibition”:
(3) A person shall not operate a motor vehicle on a highway unless the windshield and window glazing comply with sections 70 and 71.
There is now a medical exemption that can be applied for by individuals with a medical condition that requires protection from sunlight. If accepted, you will be able to have certain films applied to the windshield and doors in the driver’s row (visible light transmittance of not less than 50%).
This exemption requires an application to be filled out, a doctor’s diagnosis, and more. Details on rules and conditions for application can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/vehicle-window-tint-exemption
Windows Behind the Driver’s Row:
The rules for tinting windows behind the driver’s row are much more flexible, but still have specific regulations. We encourage you to read the rules and regulations for themselves. They are linked below for your convenience.
Why is this Alberta’s Tinting Law?
While several regions in North America allow for tint on the windshield or driver’s door glass, that is not the case in Alberta.
There are abundant speculations for why this regulation is in effect. Some common beliefs are:
- Tint makes it harder to see out your windows at night.
- It is more difficult for other drivers or pedestrians to determine your intentions.
- Tint makes breaking a window in a sinking/submerged vehicle more difficult.
- It is safer for police to be able to see into vehicles they approach.
- It is more difficult to escape or assist others in escaping from a vehicle involved in an accident.
To our knowledge the Alberta government has not provided a direct explanation. The code simply states no film, clear or otherwise, should be used.
It is likely that the benefits of tint were weighed against the negatives and lost. This also likely explains why concessions to this rule are made elsewhere in North America in hotter climates where tinting is an important part of regulating the temperature of a vehicle.
Why do companies tint these windows if it is illegal?
Many tinting establishments ignore these regulations and tint any requested window. The exact reasons for this are not something we know for sure.
Since Windshield Surgeons does not perform tinting services, we have not delved deeply with lawyers to understand whether tinting establishments assume any liability for adding illegal tint to a vehicle.
Excerpt 70(1) from the Alberta Traffic Safety Act Vehicle Equipment Regulation, referenced earlier on this page, certainly implies that installing tint on the windshield or front door windows of motor vehicles is illegal.
What we confidently know is that you are at risk of being ticketed if driving with illegal film – at the discretion of the enforcement officers they encounter.
A note of thanks to David B. who identified an error in this article and shared his insight allowing us to make a correction and provide a more accurate representation of facts.
The contents of this article represent the author’s best effort on this subject. Do not solely rely on this article for decisions. Windshield Surgeons Auto Glass is not liable for any tickets or losses due to your tinting decisions.