Radar Detector Laws in the USA | Autance

Millions of America use radar detectors to avoid speed traps on the roads. Speed tickets are usually costly, so, anything…

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Radar Detector Laws in the USA | Autance © Radar Detector Laws in the USA | Autance

Millions of America use radar detectors to avoid speed traps on the roads. Speed tickets are usually costly, so, anything that would help you to avoid them, such as having speed radars is an excellent idea. The detectors can also help you save on insurance installment, which means they are a worthwhile investment. The gadgets are sold both online and in many stores. However, there is a growing concern on the legality of radar detectors in the USA.

What is a Radar Detector?

They are small electronic devices that are designed to alert the driver whenever one is approaching police officers or highway patrol. Most of these devices are to be used inside the cabin of a car, and they usually light up and send a sound notification when they detect police radar. Considering that the produce can tell when you have been driving at high speed, this device will help you to avoid getting tickets for speeding since it will enable you time to adjust to the required speed before a police officer spots you.

Are Radar Detectors Legal in the USA?

Before investing in one of the best radar detectors in the market, it is advisable to understand the traffic laws in the state. That way, you will know if they are legal and also follow the restrictions around them. Although radars seem to encourage over speeding, you will be surprised to learn that they are legal in most states. To help you understand radar detector laws, here is a breakdown of the traffic laws in America.

Radar Detectors vs. Radar Jammers

A radar detector will alert you when you are nearing police radar. That way, you will know the safe distance to slow down so that you do not get a speeding ticket. On the other hand, road jammers are made to stop the radar signs that the police radars produce.

While radar detectors are legal in some states, radar jammers are illegal in all states since 1996. If you are found using a road jammer, it is considered a federal crime and you can face many years in jail. Therefore, avoid radar jammers and instead use the best radar detectors available today.

Which States Consider the Use of Radar Detectors Illegal?

Sometimes the use of radars is allowed in some vehicle types and banned in others. However, some states restrict the use of radars entirely. Here are such states:

  • Virginia

In Virginia, the use of radar detectors is altogether illegal. Drivers are not allowed to use the device on any vehicle, whether private or public. If you are caught with a radar in Virginia, you will be given a speeding ticket, regardless of whether you have been over speeding on not. Besides getting the ticket, the radar will be confiscated by the police. The sale of radar detectors is illegal in most parts of Virginia State.

  • California and Minnesota

The use of radar detectors in Minnesota and California is legal. However, drivers are not allowed to place the device on the vehicle’s windshield. Drivers are not allowed to mount the gadget on any car, whether public or private. The laws do not allow motorists to place anything on the windshield. As per these regulations, items attached to the windscreen impede a driver’s vision. Therefore, you can have the radar in any other part of your car apart from on the windshield.

  • Texas

Using radar detectors is legal in Texas, but the device should not be mounted on commercial vehicles.

  • Illinois, New Jersey, and New York

The legality of the detectors in New York, Illinois, and New Jersey will depend on the kind of vehicle you are using it in. Using the radars in commercial vehicles is illegal. If you are caught doing with a radar in a commercial car, you will be given a speeding ticket regardless of whether you were driving at the right speed or not. However, using the detectors in private cars is legal in these states.

Why are the Radar Detectors Illegal in These States?

The banning of radar detectors in these states is aimed at minimizing recklessness and over speeding by motorists. This is particularly vital for commercial vehicles as it ensures the safety of the passengers. In the absence of these gadgets, the driver is compelled to stick to the speed limits to avoid getting speed tickets.

The Legality of Radar Detectors in Other States

Although the use of radar detectors is prohibited or limited in the states named above, the other states allow motorists to use the gadgets on all cars. However, the legality of the devices in the other states is permitted with windshield mounting and commercial vehicle restrictions. Also, federal laws prohibit the use of radar detectors on commercial vehicles that are above 10,000 pounds. If your vehicle is under this category, you should not use a radar detector irrespective of the state you reside.

Legality of Radar Detection With Proximity to Military Bases

Although using radar detectors remains legal for private cars in most states, using them in military bases is not allowed. It is generally illegal to enter an army base with a radar detector mounted visibly on your car. Since most military bases require motorists to go through a checkpoint before entering the premises, the security personnel usually requests the driver to remove the radar detector and keep it out of sight while in the base. Therefore, there is little risk of arrest, ticketing or fining.

Radar detectors are pretty typical for motorists, especially those who are on the road regularly and want to keep off speeding tickets. Speed tickets will not only leave a bad record on your license, but they also lead to increased insurance premiums and a possibility of going to jail. The rules of using radar detectors vary from one state to another. Before you buy this vital gadget, make sure you will not be in trouble with the authorities for breaking traffic regulations by reading these regulations. You should take extra caution before mounting it on commercial vehicles as they have many restrictions.


  1. Radar Detectors – AAA
  2. How to Buy a Radar Detector – wikiHow
  3. How Radar Detectors Work – howstuffworks
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