Radar Detector Laws

Are you planning a road trip this year but confused as to how you can use your radar detector?

When you’re driving long-distance, a radar detector is pretty much a necessity, especially when you have to go through long highways. Sometimes, the empty street just calls your name! If you have experience driving a bit faster, it’s also very tempting to just go with the flow on the road and not look obsessively at your meter. Actually, when you drive faster (properly), your adrenaline increases and your attention is more focused on driving. If you drive slower, especially on long distance routes, it’s harder for you to stay focused as the adrenaline focus is minimal and fatigue and boredom take over.

That being said, it’s no surprise that most drivers, truck drivers and road trip fans buy radar detectors for their travels. According to the Communication Act of 1934, radar detectors should be allowed in all privates cars, but of course there are always exceptions to the rule. Since not all States permit radar detectors to be used in-State, we decided to create your must-have guide to Radar Detector Laws in the U.S.  After some thorough research, here’s what we found:

Radar Detectors in Military Bases

When you enter a military base, the State’s law on radar detector usage is not taken into account: it’s illegal. Period. You should not enter any Military Base with a radar detector active, even a small one. If they catch you, the military will require you to turn off your device in order to continue your travels in the military base.

Radar Detectors for Heavy Vehicles

If your vehicle weighs over 18,000 lbs, you are not allowed to use a radar detector in any State. There are three exceptions for Illinois, New York and New Jersey though, as the limit for commercial vehicles to use radar detectors is at 10,000 pounds. Anything over 10,000lbs for those three States is not allowed to use radar detectors.

Radar Detectors on the Windshield

Some States allow windshield mounted radar detectors except California and Minnesota. You will be fined if you are caught using a windshield radar detector in those two States, so be careful. The logic behind this regulation is to make sure that the driver’s vision isn’t impaired by anything added to the windshield. You can find radar detectors that attach to your visor instead, so you’re safe and protecting yourself from radar at the same time.

The Whole Radar Jammers Situation

Radar jammers are devices that block officers from seeing what speed you’re going at by blocking the radio waves from the officers’ radar. They are illegal in all States, no exceptions. If you’re caught using one, the consequences vary from fine to jail time depending on the State.

Laser Jammers

Laser jammers laws are a bit more flexible in some States, as they do not block the radio waves from the radar laser guns officers sometimes use and block only the laser light from the officer’s radar. Although not illegal per se, there are still some States where it’s illegal to use radar detectors in the form of laser jammers.

Those States are:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington D.C.

There you have it! Everything you need to know about radar detector laws in the U.S. If you have any questions or comments to add, feel free to comment below and we’ll respond ASAP.


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Want to know what States allow Radar Detector Use?
Find out your State’s regulations HERE.