The Effect of Reduced Transmittance Window Tinting on Drivers' Ability to Detect Targets in Their Rear-view Mirrors: Final Report

Report No: 96-R14

Published in 1996

About the report:

This study addressed the degree to which motor vehicle window tint films impede drivers' ability to detect targets in their vehicle's rear-view mirrors. Twenty-four subjects participated. Each sat in the driver's seat of one of four experimental vehicles and attempted to detect a stationary pedestrian in one of the three rear-view mirrors. Errors in detecting targets and the distances at which detection occurred were recorded. One experimental vehicle had no aftermarket window tinting, and three were tinted to varying degrees. In general, this study found that increased levels of window tinting were associated with an increase in the number of failures to detect a pedestrian in rear-view mirrors and with a decrease in the distance at which the target could be detected. In addition, increased levels of window tinting were associated with an increase in between-subject variability, meaning that window tinting interfered with target detection more for some subjects than for others.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Dennis R. Proffitt, Marco Bertamini, Muku lBhalla, Jane Joseph

Last updated: December 17, 2023

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