Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 10. Motor Vehicle and Equipment Safety
3/4/2024

Article 6. Windshields and Windows.

§ 46.2-1052. Tinting films, signs, decals, and stickers on windshields, etc.; penalties.

A. As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Front side windows" means those windows located adjacent to and forward of the driver's seat.

"Holographic effect" means a picture or image that may remain constant or change as the viewing angle is changed.

"Multipurpose passenger vehicle" means any motor vehicle that is (i) designed to carry no more than 10 persons and (ii) constructed either on a truck chassis or with special features for occasional off-road use.

"Prism effect" means a visual, iridescent, or rainbow-like effect that separates light into various colored components that may change depending on viewing angle.

"Rear side windows" means those windows located to the rear of the driver's seat.

"Rear window" or "rear windows" means those windows that are located to the rear of the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle and that are approximately parallel to the windshield.

B. Except as otherwise provided in this article or permitted by federal law, it shall be unlawful for any person to operate any motor vehicle on a highway with any sign, poster, colored or tinted film, sun-shading material, or other colored material on the windshield, front or rear side windows, or rear windows of such motor vehicle. This provision, however, shall not apply to any certificate or other paper required by law or permitted by the Superintendent to be placed on a motor vehicle's windshield or window.

The size of stickers or decals used by counties, cities, and towns in lieu of license plates shall be in compliance with regulations promulgated by the Superintendent. Such stickers shall be affixed on the windshield at a location designated by the Superintendent.

C. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, whenever a motor vehicle is equipped with a mirror on each side of such vehicle, so located as to reflect to the driver of such vehicle a view of the highway for at least 200 feet to the rear of such vehicle, any or all of the following shall be lawful:

1. To drive a motor vehicle equipped with one optically grooved clear plastic right-angle rear view lens attached to one rear window of such motor vehicle, not exceeding 18 inches in diameter in the case of a circular lens or not exceeding 11 inches by 14 inches in the case of a rectangular lens, which enables the driver of the motor vehicle to view below the line of sight as viewed through the rear window;

2. To have affixed to the rear side windows, rear window or windows of a motor vehicle any sticker or stickers, regardless of size; or

3. To drive a motor vehicle when the driver's clear view of the highway through the rear window or windows is otherwise obstructed.

D. Except as provided in § 46.2-1053, but notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, no sun-shading or tinting film may be applied or affixed to any window of a motor vehicle unless such motor vehicle is equipped with a mirror on each side of such motor vehicle, so located as to reflect to the driver of the vehicle a view of the highway for at least 200 feet to the rear of such vehicle, and the sun-shading or tinting film is applied or affixed in accordance with the following:

1. No sun-shading or tinting films may be applied or affixed to the rear side windows or rear window or windows of any motor vehicle operated on the highways of the Commonwealth that reduce the total light transmittance of such window to less than 35 percent;

2. No sun-shading or tinting films may be applied or affixed to the front side windows of any motor vehicle operated on the highways of the Commonwealth that reduce total light transmittance of such window to less than 50 percent;

3. No sun-shading or tinting films shall be applied or affixed to any window of a motor vehicle that (i) have a reflectance of light exceeding 20 percent or (ii) produce a holographic or prism effect.

Any person who operates a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth with sun-shading or tinting films that (i) have a total light transmittance less than that required by subdivisions 1 and 2, (ii) have a reflectance of light exceeding 20 percent, or (iii) produce holographic or prism effects is guilty of a traffic infraction but shall not be awarded any demerit points by the Commissioner for the violation.

Any person or firm who applies or affixes to the windows of any motor vehicle in Virginia sun-shading or tinting films that (i) reduce the light transmittance to levels less than that allowed in subdivisions 1 and 2, (ii) have a reflectance of light exceeding 20 percent, or (iii) produce holographic or prism effects is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor for the first offense and of a Class 2 misdemeanor for any subsequent offense.

E. The Division of Purchases and Supply, pursuant to § 2.2-1112, shall determine the proper standards for equipment or devices used to measure light transmittance through windows of motor vehicles. Law-enforcement officers shall use only such equipment or devices to measure light transmittance through windows that meet the standards established by the Division. Such measurements made by law-enforcement officers shall be given a tolerance of minus seven percentage points.

F. No film or darkening material may be applied on the windshield except to replace the sunshield in the uppermost area as installed by the manufacturer of the vehicle.

G. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the affixing to the rear window of a motor vehicle of a single sticker no larger than 20 square inches if such sticker is totally contained within the lower five inches of the glass of the rear window, nor shall subsection C apply to a motor vehicle to which but one such sticker is so affixed.

H. Nothing in this section shall prohibit applying to the rear side windows or rear window of any multipurpose passenger vehicle or pickup truck sun-shading or tinting films that reduce the total light transmittance of such window or windows below 35 percent.

I. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, sun-shading material which was applied or installed prior to July 1, 1987, in a manner and on which windows not then in violation of Virginia law, shall continue to be lawful, provided that it can be shown by appropriate receipts that such material was installed prior to July 1, 1987.

J. Where a person is convicted within one year of a second or subsequent violation of this section involving the operation of the same vehicle having a tinted or smoked windshield, the court, in addition to any other penalty, may order the person so convicted to remove such tinted or smoked windshield from the vehicle.

K. The provisions of this section shall not apply to law-enforcement vehicles.

L. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the rear windows or rear side windows of any emergency medical services vehicle used to transport patients.

M. The provisions of subdivisions D 1, 2, and 3 shall not apply to vehicles operated in the performance of private security duties by a security canine handler as defined in § 9.1-138 and licensed in accordance with § 9.1-139.

N. The provisions of subdivision D 1 shall not apply to sight-seeing carriers as defined in § 46.2-2000 and contract passenger carriers as defined in § 46.2-2000.

O. For any summons issued for a violation of this section, the court may, in its discretion, dismiss the summons, where proof of compliance with this section is provided to the court on or before the court date.

P. No law-enforcement officer shall stop a motor vehicle for a violation of this section. No evidence discovered or obtained as the result of a stop in violation of this subsection, including evidence discovered or obtained with the operator's consent, shall be admissible in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding.

Code 1950, § 46-295; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-291; 1970, c. 16; 1978, c. 233; 1981, cc. 17, 626; 1985, c. 160; 1987, cc. 298, 315; 1988, c. 751; 1989, c. 727; 1991, cc. 100, 328; 1993, c. 808; 1994, c. 118; 1997, cc. 744, 880; 1998, c. 133; 1999, c. 75; 2004, c. 613; 2008, c. 189; 2015, cc. 502, 503; 2017, c. 670; 2019, c. 623; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 45, 51.

§ 46.2-1053. Equipping certain motor vehicles with sun-shading or tinting films or applications.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 46.2-1052, a motor vehicle operated by or regularly used to transport any person with a medical condition which renders him susceptible to harm or injury from exposure to sunlight or bright artificial light may be equipped, on its windshield and any or all of its windows, with sun-shading or tinting films or applications which reduce the transmission of light into the vehicle to levels not less than 35 percent. Such sun-shading or tinting film when applied to the windshield of a motor vehicle shall not cause the total light transmittance to be reduced to any level less than 70 percent except for the upper five inches of such windshield or the AS-1 line, whichever is closer to the top of the windshield. Vehicles equipped with such sun-shading or tinting films shall not be operated on any highway unless, while being so operated, the driver or an occupant of the vehicle has in his possession a written authorization issued by the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles authorizing such operation. The Commissioner shall issue such written authorization only upon receipt of a signed statement from a licensed physician or licensed optometrist (i) identifying with reasonable specificity the person seeking the written authorization and (ii) stating that, in the physician's or optometrist's professional opinion, the equipping of a vehicle with sun-shading or tinting films or applications is necessary to safeguard the health of the person seeking the written authorization. Written authorizations issued by the Commissioner under this section shall be valid so long as the condition requiring the use of sun-shading or tinting films or applications persists or until the vehicle is sold, whichever first occurs. Such written authorizations shall permit the approval of any such vehicle upon its safety inspection as required by this chapter if such vehicle otherwise qualifies for inspection approval. In the discretion of the Commissioner, one or more written authorizations may be issued to an individual or a family. The Division of Purchases and Supply, pursuant to § 2.2-1112, shall determine the proper standards for equipment or devices used to measure light transmittance through windows of motor vehicles. Law-enforcement officers shall use only such equipment or devices to measure light transmittance through windows that meet the standards established by the Division. Such measurements made by law-enforcement officers shall be given a tolerance of minus seven percentage points.

For any summons issued for a violation of this section, the court may, in its discretion, dismiss the summons, where proof of compliance with this section is provided to the court on or before the court date.

1986, c. 67, § 46.1-291.01; 1987, c. 391; 1989, cc. 65, 727; 1990, c. 161; 1993, cc. 800, 808; 1996, cc. 943, 994; 2017, c. 670.

§ 46.2-1054. Suspension of objects or alteration of vehicle so as to obstruct driver's view.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person (i) to drive a motor vehicle on a highway in the Commonwealth with any object or objects, other than a rear view mirror, sun visor, or other equipment of the motor vehicle approved by the Superintendent, suspended from any part of the motor vehicle in such a manner as to substantially obstruct the driver's clear view of the highway through the windshield, the front side windows, or the rear window or (ii) to alter a passenger-carrying vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's view through the windshield. However, this section shall not apply (a) when the driver's clear view of the highway through the rear window is obstructed if such motor vehicle is equipped with a mirror on each side, so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for at least 200 feet to the rear of such vehicle, (b) to safety devices installed on the windshields of vehicles owned by private waste haulers or local governments and used to transport solid waste, or (c) to bicycle racks installed on the front of any bus operated by any city, county, transit authority, or transit or transportation district. The provisions of clause (ii) shall not apply to the lawful immobilization of vehicles pursuant to § 46.2-1216 or 46.2-1231.

B. No law-enforcement officer shall stop a motor vehicle for a violation of this section. No evidence discovered or obtained as the result of a stop in violation of this subsection, including evidence discovered or obtained with the operator's consent, shall be admissible in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding.

C. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit the suspension and use of any dashboard camera and any accompanying wires or attachments in or on a motor vehicle provided that (i) such suspension and use are not otherwise prohibited by the provisions of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations and (ii) such camera, wires, and attachments are wholly or mostly concealed behind the rear view mirror without any additional obstruction to the driver's view.

1960, c. 122, § 46.1-291.1; 1972, cc. 8, 844; 1987, c. 135; 1989, c. 727; 2003, c. 273; 2019, c. 510; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 45, 51; 2023, c. 235.

§ 46.2-1055. Windshield wipers.

Every permanent windshield on a motor vehicle shall be equipped with a device for cleaning snow, rain, moisture, or other matter from the windshield directly in front of the driver. The device shall be so constructed as to be controlled or operated by the driver of the vehicle. Every such device on a school bus or a vehicle designed or used to carry passengers for compensation or hire or as a public conveyance shall be of a mechanically or electrically operated type. The device or devices on any motor vehicle manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1943, shall clean both the right and left sides of the windshield and shall be of a mechanically or electrically operated type.

Code 1950, § 46-296; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-292; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1055.1. Windshield defroster or defogger.

Every Virginia-registered motor vehicle manufactured for the 1969 or subsequent model years and required to be equipped with a windshield shall be equipped with a windshield defroster or defogger. The defroster or defogger shall be in good working order at all times when the vehicle is operated on the highways.

1990, c. 955.

§ 46.2-1056. When safety glass required.

It shall be unlawful for any person to drive on any highway a motor vehicle registered in the Commonwealth and manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1935, and designed or used for the purpose of carrying persons for compensation or hire or as a public conveyance to transport school children and others, unless such vehicle is equipped with safety glass wherever glass is used in doors, windows, and windshields.

It shall be unlawful to drive on any highway any motor vehicle registered in the Commonwealth, manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1936, unless the vehicle is equipped with safety glass approved by the Superintendent, or meets the standards and specifications of the American National Standards Institute, Incorporated, or the regulations of the federal Department of Transportation whenever glass is used in doors, windows, and windshields.

The term "safety glass" as used in this section shall mean any product composed of glass so manufactured, fabricated or treated as substantially to prevent shattering and flying of the glass when struck or broken. The Commissioner shall maintain a list of types of glass approved by the Superintendent as conforming to the specifications and requirements for safety glass as set forth in this section and shall not issue a license for or relicense any motor vehicle subject to the provisions herein stated unless such motor vehicle is equipped as herein provided with the approved type of glass.

No glazing material other than safety glass shall be used in any motor vehicle registered in the Commonwealth, except that the Superintendent may permit safety glazing materials other than glass to be used in lieu of safety glass in portions of motor vehicles, trailers, and semitrailers designated by him, provided any such material bears a trade name or identifying mark, and has been submitted to and approved by the Superintendent.

If any person drives any vehicle in violation of this section while under a certificate issued by the State Corporation Commission, in addition to the penalty provided in § 46.2-113, the certificate of such person may, in the discretion of the State Corporation Commission, be suspended until this section is satisfactorily complied with.

Replacement safety glass installed in any part of a vehicle other than the windshield need not bear a trademark or name, provided (i) the glass consists of two or more sheets of glass separated by a glazing material, (ii) the glass is cut from a piece of approved safety glass, and (iii) the edge of the glass can be observed.

Code 1950, § 46-297; 1950, p. 698; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-293; 1960, c. 125; 1968, c. 172; 1970, c. 18; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1057. Windshields.

It shall be unlawful for any person to drive on a highway in the Commonwealth any motor vehicle or reconstructed motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle or autocycle, registered in the Commonwealth that was manufactured, assembled, or reconstructed after July 1, 1970, unless the motor vehicle is equipped with a windshield.

1970, c. 22, § 46.1-293.1; 1989, c. 727; 2014, cc. 53, 256.

§ 46.2-1058. Replacement of glass in vehicle.

It shall be unlawful for any person to replace any glass in any vehicle with any material other than an approved type of safety glass. Safety glazing materials other than glass approved by the Superintendent as provided in § 46.2-1056 may, however, be used to replace safety glass in any portion of a motor vehicle which has been designated for such use by the Superintendent.

Code 1950, § 46-298; 1950, p. 699; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-294; 1989, c. 727.