Where Are Radar Detectors Illegal?

Where Are Radar Detectors Illegal

Radar detectors are controversial devices that alert drivers if there are speed monitors being used in the surrounding area. It is controversial due to the fact that most drivers feel that it is a fair device that lets them know when they are about to commit a traffic violation and when to avoid it. Other parties, however, especially law enforcement, believe that this device helps motorists get away with violating traffic rules before they occur.

Despite ongoing debate, radar detectors are available for purchase all over the world. The only information you have to know is where are radar detectors illegal and where are they allowed.

About Radar Detectors

One of the most used devices that law enforcement use to measure the speed of a vehicle is called a Doppler radar. These devices are usually in the form of a gun, and they are commonly called radar guns.

Police officers would be parked in a concealed area and point the device at a passing car to measure its speed. When they detect a speed above the limit, they can then stop the car and issue a traffic violation ticket for overspeeding. These radar devices are also positioned on fixed objects such as traffic signals and highways.

Radar detection devices use a special receiver to detect the electromagnetic emissions from a radar gun and notify the motorist when it is used near him. In recent years, radar detectors have advanced in terms of technology. They now make use of GPS to closely monitor an area for radar monitoring.

Most devices also use different apps so that motorists can inform each other of these monitored areas. The advancement of having an internet connection while driving has also made these devices accessible and available on an online network.


There are several state laws that view the use of radar detectors differently. In terms of federal law, there are no laws that ban the use of radar detectors. An FCC public notice in 1996 states that radar detectors are used to receive radio transmissions, and they do not violate any FCC regulations.

In the Communications Act of 1934, the Department of Transportation stated that in the United States, detectors are generally legal in private vehicles, by they are illegal in commercial vehicles. Still, as mentioned earlier, this can be disregarded by some state laws.

In most areas, radar detectors are allowed as long as all they do is detect radar. The big difference here is when your device actually jams radar. Jamming devices are banned in almost all states and other counties. Nevertheless, this does not mean that your radar detector is legal where you are.

Where Are Radar Detectors Illegal in the US (and Canada)

In the United States, radar detectors are illegal in all vehicles in the states of Virginia, Washington DC, and in all United States Military bases. On the other hand, they are illegal in commercial vehicles under the state law in Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. This is specific to commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds and all vehicles over 18,000 pounds.

Radar detectors are also illegal in Minnesota and California, but only if the device is affixed to the windshield and obstructing the vision of the driver. Back in the day, radar detectors were illegal in Connecticut, but they were repealed in 1992.

In Canada, the use of radar detectors is only legal in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. This means that it is illegal in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Yukon, Nunavut, and other parts of the Northwest Territories.

Police officials can confiscate radar detectors regardless of whether they are in use or not, or whether they are operational or not. They can also impose substantial fines.

Where Are Radar Detectors Banned in the World

The following countries have officially made the use of radar detectors illegal:

  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Australia (everywhere except Western Australia)
  • Croatia
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany (legal to own, illegal to use)
  • Greece
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Jordan
  • Mexico (in some states)
  • Netherlands
  • North Korea
  • Norway (legal to own, illegal to use)
  • Portugal
  • Poland  (legal to own, illegal to use)
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Slovakia (legal to own, illegal to use)
  • South Africa (legal to own, illegal to use)
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • UAE

In these countries, radar detectors are legal, but radar jammers are illegal:

  • Bulgaria
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Egypt
  • Hungary
  • Israel
  • Lithuania (legal to own, illegal to use)
  • Russia


In the past, radar detectors were destroyed when they are confiscated. However, because of the number of lawsuits that were raised by motorists who argued the violation of property rights, law enforcement officers were forced to just remove the devices and write a citation.

What happens next is that the device is then returned after the serial number, make, and model are entered on the ticket. The tickets issued were usually for speeding or for the possession or operation of a radar detector where it is illegal.

Motorists who enter military bases with a radar detector that is mounted on the windshield would be asked to remove the device. If the motorist refuses, he will be denied entry into the military base.

In different parts of the world, the consequence of having a radar detector varies. For instance, in Belgium, the vehicle would be seized, the device would be destroyed, and the driver’s license will be suspended for three months.

In most cases, the radar detector will be confiscated, and the owner will be given a ticket and asked for a fine. To give you an idea, the highest fine for using a radar jammer in the Czech Republic is around $8,500.


It is important to know where are radar detectors illegal and where they can be used. From this read, we have learned that radar detectors are legal to use in most parts of the world. In the United States, in fact, they are mostly legal, with the exception of a few states and a few areas designated by the US military.

In other parts of the world, there are several countries that prohibit the use of radar detectors and the consequences of being caught using one can be quite significant, so it is important to still be aware of these places.

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