Are radar detectors legal?

If you’re considering getting yourself a radar detector, then of course you’re likely wondering whether they are legal. The concept of a radar detector in itself would probably suggest that they’re illegal, because of their purpose.

The good news is that in the majority of states, radar detectors are perfectly legal. Unless you’re in Washington DC or Virginia where radar detectors are illegal, it’s perfectly fine for you to use a radar detector.

So, for the majority of us in the United States it’s absolutely fine for you to use a radar detector. But, shoudl they be? Let’s take a look at radar detectors and why they should or shouldn’t be illegal.

Are radar detectors legal?

So as we’ve established, in the majority of states around the United States radar detectors are perfectly legal. But what about in the rest of the world?

Well, it isn’t that appealing to use a radar detector in places like the UK. Any idea why? You guessed it – because they don’t use radars to detect speeding, they use lasers instead. So whilst they are legal in the UK, there’s really not much point in using one. If you’re curious about whether laser jammers are legal, then technically they are to purchase and use, but UK police still fine and prosecute people for using them.

However in the majority of other countries in Europe, radar detectors are illegal by law. This means that if you’re caught using one, it will likely be confiscated immediately and you might have legal action taken against you.

What about for commercial vehicles?

Commercial vehicles tend to have a completely different law regarding whether radar detectors are legal or not. For the most part, radar detectors are not legal for commercial vehicles, as there’s no need for someone in a commercial vehicle to use one. So, if you’re a commercial vehicle driver, it’s best to avoid using a radar detector.

Radar Detector Positioning

If you do own a radar detector, then another thing that you’ll have to be wary of is the position in which you put your radar detector. The majority of detectors are made to be put in your windshield, as this is their most convenient position. However, the reality is that this really isn’t the best place to put your radar detector for some people. Why? Well in States like California, it’s actually illegal for you to use any sort of appliance in your windshield, as it can obstruct your view. So, be careful you don’t get given a ticket for this depending on what state you’re in.


All in all, it’s probably a good idea to avoid getting a radar detector if you’re in a state or country where they are illegal. Although radar detectors can come in handy sometimes, they’re generally quite likely to land you in a whole lot of trouble if you get caught. So, be warned that you use a radar detector at your own risk.

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