(a)        Windshield Wipers. – A vehicle that is operated on a highway and has a windshield shall have a windshield wiper to clear rain or other substances from the windshield in front of the driver of the vehicle and the windshield wiper shall be in good working order. If a vehicle has more than one windshield wiper to clear substances from the windshield, all the windshield wipers shall be in good working order.

(b)        Window Tinting Restrictions. – A window of a vehicle that is operated on a highway or a public vehicular area shall comply with this subsection. The windshield of the vehicle may be tinted only along the top of the windshield and the tinting may not extend more than five inches below the top of the windshield or below the AS1 line of the windshield, whichever measurement is longer. Provided, however, an untinted clear film which does not obstruct vision but which reduces or eliminates ultraviolet radiation from entering a vehicle may be applied to the windshield. Any other window of the vehicle may be tinted in accordance with the following restrictions:

(1)        The total light transmission of the tinted window shall be at least thirty-five percent (35%). A vehicle window that, by use of a light meter approved by the Commissioner, measures a total light transmission of more than thirty-two percent (32%) is conclusively presumed to meet this restriction.

(2)        The light reflectance of the tinted window shall be twenty percent (20%) or less.

(3)        Tinted film or another material used to tint the window shall be nonreflective and shall not be red, yellow, or amber.

(b1)      Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, a window of a vehicle that is operated on a public street or highway and which is subject to the provisions of Part 393 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations shall comply with the provisions of that Part.

(c)        Tinting Exceptions. – The window tinting restrictions in subsection (b) of this section apply without exception to the windshield of a vehicle. The window tinting restrictions in subdivisions (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section do not apply to any of the following vehicle windows:

(1)        A window of an excursion passenger vehicle, as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-4.01(27).

(2),       (3) Repealed by Session Laws 2012-78, s. 8, effective December 1, 2012. For applicability, see Editor’s notes.

(4)        A window of a motor home, as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-4.01(27)k.

(5)        A window of an ambulance, as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-4.01(27)a.

(6)        The rear window of a property-hauling vehicle, as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-4.01(31).

(7)        A window of a limousine.

(8)        A window of a law enforcement vehicle.

(9)        A window of a multipurpose vehicle that is behind the driver of the vehicle. A multipurpose vehicle is a passenger vehicle that is designed to carry 10 or fewer passengers and either is constructed on a truck chassis or has special features designed for occasional off-road operation. A minivan and a pickup truck are multipurpose vehicles.

(10)      A window of a vehicle that is registered in another state and meets the requirements of the state in which it is registered.

(11)      A window of a vehicle for which the Division has issued a medical exception permit under subsection (f) of this section.

(d)       Violations. – A person who does any of the following commits a Class 3 misdemeanor:

(1)        Applies tinting to the window of a vehicle that is subject to a safety inspection in this State and the resulting tinted window does not meet the window tinting restrictions set in this section.

(2)        Drives on a highway or a public vehicular area a vehicle that has a window that does not meet the window tinting restrictions set in this section.

(e)        Defense. – It is a defense to a charge of driving a vehicle with an unlawfully tinted window that the tinting was removed within 15 days after the charge and the window now meets the window tinting restrictions. To assert this defense, the person charged shall produce in court, or submit to the prosecuting attorney before trial, a certificate from the Division of Motor Vehicles or the Highway Patrol showing that the window complies with the restrictions.

(f)        Medical Exception. – A person who suffers from a medical condition that causes the person to be photosensitive to visible light may obtain a medical exception permit. To obtain a permit, an applicant shall apply in writing to the Drivers Medical Evaluation Program and have his or her doctor complete the required medical evaluation form provided by the Division. The permit shall be valid for five years from the date of issue, unless a shorter time is directed by the Drivers Medical Evaluation Program. The renewal shall require a medical recertification that the person continues to suffer from a medical condition requiring tinting.

A person may receive no more than two medical exception permits that are valid at any one time. A permit issued under this subsection shall specify the vehicle to which it applies, the windows that may be tinted, and the permitted levels of tinting. The permit shall be carried in the vehicle to which it applies when the vehicle is driven on a highway.

The Division shall give a person who receives a medical exception permit a sticker to place on the lower left-hand corner of the rear window of the vehicle to which it applies. The sticker shall be designed to give prospective purchasers of the vehicle notice that the windows of the vehicle do not meet the requirements of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-127(b), and shall be placed between the window and the tinting when the tinting is installed. The Division shall adopt rules regarding the specifications of the medical exception sticker. Failure to display the sticker is an infraction punishable by a two hundred dollar ($200.00) fine. ?(1937, c. 407, s. 90; 1953, c. 1254; 1955, c. 1157, s. 2; 1959, c. 1264, s. 7; 1967, c. 1077; 1985, c. 789; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 997; 1987, c. 567; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1082, ss. 7-8.1; 1989, c. 770, s. 66; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1007, s. 34; 1993, c. 539, s. 360; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 683, s. 1; c. 754, s. 4; 1995, c. 14, s. 1; c. 473, s. 1; 2000-75, s. 1; 2012-78, s. 8; 2013-360, s. 18B.14(j); 2015-163, s. 13; 2017-102, s. 5.2(b).)

Attorney's Note

Under the N.C. Gen. Statutes, punishments for crimes depend on the classification. In the case of this section:
ClassPrisonFine
Class 3 misdemeanorup to 20 daysup to $200
For details, see § 15A-1340.23

Terms Used In North Carolina General Statutes 20-127

  • Commissioner: means the North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture. See North Carolina General Statutes 20-190.1
  • following: when used by way of reference to any section of a statute, shall be construed to mean the section next preceding or next following that in which such reference is made; unless when some other section is expressly designated in such reference. See North Carolina General Statutes 12-3
  • in writing: may be construed to include printing, engraving, lithographing, and any other mode of representing words and letters: Provided, that in all cases where a written signature is required by law, the same shall be in a proper handwriting, or in a proper mark. See North Carolina General Statutes 12-3
  • notes: means the bonds, notes, renewal notes, refunding bonds, interim certificates, certificates of indebtedness, debentures, warrants, commercial paper, or other obligations or evidences of indebtedness authorized to be issued by the Authority pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter. See North Carolina General Statutes 20-190.1
  • Passenger: means a person who travels on a bicycle in any manner except as an operator. See North Carolina General Statutes 20-171.8
  • Person: means any individual, corporation, partnership, firm, association, trust, estate, public or private institution, group, agency, political subdivision of this State, any other state or political subdivision or agency thereof, and any legal successor, representative, agent, or agency of the foregoing, other than the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or any successor thereto, and other than federal government agencies licensed by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or any successor thereto. See North Carolina General Statutes 20-167
  • Radiation: means gamma rays and x-rays, alpha and beta particles, high speed electrons, protons, neutrons, and other nuclear particles, and electromagnetic radiation consisting of associated and interacting electric and magnetic waves including those with frequencies between three times 10 to the eighth power cycles per second and three times 10 to the twenty-fourth power cycles per second and wavelengths between one times 10 to the minus fourteenth power centimeters and 100 centimeters. See North Carolina General Statutes 20-167
  • State: means the State of North Carolina or any agency or instrumentality thereof. See North Carolina General Statutes 20-190.1
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.