Radar Detector Laws Vary
You’re driving along, enjoying the scenery when all of a sudden sirens start blaring and red and blue flashing lights practically blind you from behind. A quick glance down at the speedometer and you realize, your good night just turned terribly bad.
Beyond the obvious horror of a traffic accident, few things scare motorists more than getting caught speeding. Whether it’s a normally law-abiding driver or someone behind the wheel who likes to push the limits, a ticket can be costly. Add in insurance rate hikes and extra charges if you’re in a restricted area such as a construction or school zone, and a $150 ticket can easily climb to thousands of dollars over the course of several years.
The long and the short of it is, no one wants a ticket. But how do drivers avoid those red and blue flashing lights? The immediate answer is not to speed, but since even the most careful driver can sometimes push the pedal a little harder than they realize, the next best thing is to have a reminder in the car to behave.
A beeping, flashing radar detector serves this purpose well. It’s like having a blaring wake up call mounted right on or under your dashboard. Its activation under the right circumstances can help a driver avoid getting “clocked.” Its mere presence can also serve as a reminder that someone might be watching so keeping an eye on speeds is a smart idea.
Buying a radar detector, however, can be a tricky undertaking. So too can having one in a circumstance where they’re illegal. It pays to know local, state and federal laws to help drivers avoid further penalties if the detector happens to be contraband in that area.
In general, most states do not have laws that ban the use of radar detectors. Federal law, however, does prohibit the use of detectors in commercial vehicles that weight 10,000 pounds or more. It might seem unfair for professional drivers, but think about a 12,000-pound truck speeding along at 20 miles over the posted limit smacking into, well, just about anything. It’s not a pretty picture.
Radar detectors in their best forms can help drivers avoid tickets and they can even work to encourage safer, smarter driving habits. But they are not always 100 percent effective. There are circumstances under which they won’t work and if they happen to be illegal where a driver gets pulled over for speeding, the mere presence of the detector could add to another ticket.
Play it smart before installing a detector and check local laws in regard to their use.