Are you driving in illegal sunglasses? Check this code number on them now or risk a fine up to £2,500

Are you driving with dangerous, illegal sunglasses? Checking one simple code on your favourite pair of shades could save you from an accident or fine of up to £2,500. Here’s all you need to know.

Check the code... are you driving in illegal sunglasses?

Check the code… are you driving in illegal sunglasses?

Why could my sunglasses be dangerous and illegal?

Many of don’t know this, but not all sunglasses are suitable for driving. Wearing these glasses while behind the wheel is unsafe and could result in a fine of up to £2,500.

What makes sunglasses illegal and unsafe to drive in?

Sunglasses used by drivers must let sufficient light get to their eyes. Some glasses do not allow this and can leave the motorist with reduced vision of what’s going on around them.

How do I know if my sunglasses are suitable for driving?

All fixed-tint glasses sold in the UK must be labelled with a filter category number. This will be from 0-4 and will denote if the glasses are suitable for driving.

What do the categories mean and which ones are illegal sunglasses for drivers?

Filter codeLight transmissionDriving
080-100%No restriction
143-80%Not for night driving
218-43%Not for night driving
38-18%Not for night driving
43-5%Not for driving

Category 0 glasses are basically clear and can be used when driving – during the day or night. However, if you have category 4 glasses, then you must not use them while driving at any time.

See above for a quick explanation of what the code on your sunglasses means and if they’re suitable for day or night driving.

Surely I am unlikely to be driving with category 4 glasses?

Category 4 glasses are typically sold for beach use or for those who go skiing. With this in mind, it’s quite possible that you could be wearing sunglasses that are banned for drivers.

What category is best for driving?

Filter category 2 lenses, which allow between 18% and 43% of light to be transmitted to the eye, are recommended for daytime driving

Where can I find the category code?

The filter category code can be written inside the sunglasses or on the box/plastic bags/certificates that come with the eyewear.

What about variable tint glasses?

These change their tint when exposed to UV light and then revert to their clear state when the UV levels fall. The problem is, car windscreens filter UV light, which means the glasses won’t react as expected and could make them too dark or too light for driving.

Speak to your optician about special photochromic lenses that adapt to varying light conditions when driving.

Don’t forget your licence 01 code

If you need to wear glasses for driving – denoted by the 01 code under section 12 on your licence –then you must also get sunglasses that conform to your prescription and not just off-the-shelf shades.


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