Radar detectors are legal in most cities and states in the United States. Canada, however, has far more restrictive rules about radar detectors. Most provinces don't allow them, and local law enforcement is very aggressive about detecting their use, confiscating units, and issuing steep fines.
In the U.S., the Commonwealth of Virginia and Washington D.C. have laws banning the use of radar detectors. Be sure to check your local and state laws for regulations on radar detectors and their use. In addition, stay up to date on local and state law changes regarding these detectors.
The Federal Communications Commission only permits law enforcement to use certain frequency bands for radar speed detection. These bands vary by type, frequency length and the distance at which they can be detected.
Radar detectors are set-up to sense police use of these frequencies and bands. Once detected, your display will show the type of radar band in use, and the signal strength detected. The weaker the signal, the further the signal likely is from your detector. The stronger the signal, the greater the likelihood that the radar is close by or even pointed at your vehicle.
While radar detectors have incorporated decades of technology and innovation to prevent getting a speeding ticket, there is no guarantee that you will never get one. Radar detectors are great for sensing speed traps or laser guns. But, they cannot stop a ticket issued on estimated speed or by an airplane using mile markers to measure your speed.
Radar detectors can give you advanced warning of a speed trap from some distance away. However, if you're speeding through the trap with the radar gun pointed right at you, your detector can't save you. Furthermore, newer police pop methods of instant-on radar can claim any vehicle with a detector. Your only real hope against pop methods is that the police radar the car in front of you, giving you time to detect the activity and slow down.
The only surefire way to avoid speeding tickets is to obey the speed limit. Radar detectors give you an edge at cheating the system, but cannot save you completely. If you drive like the laws don't exist, with or without a radar detector, you're bound to collect citations.
Radar detectors only sense the use of police speed detection; they do not prevent police from seeing your speed. Radar/laser scramblers or deflectors are an entirely different product that nullifies or alters the reading law enforcement gets for your speed. These products, when jamming radar, are usually illegal to use, possess or sell.
Law enforcement uses technology to sweep traffic for vehicles using radar detectors. VG-2, used in the U.S., and spectre in Canada (though creeping into the U.S.), detect the waves emitted by radar detectors. While these tactics are most used to find drivers violating laws against using radar detectors, they are used in states and provinces that allow detectors as well.
Cops want to know if you're using a radar detector. In some cases, they have ways of trying to outsmart your radar detector. These include use of the POP method, or aiming a laser gun lower away from the position of your radar.
Radar and laser methods are two different ways of bouncing a signal off of your vehicle, measuring the return beam pattern and calculating your speed. Radar speed detection uses a variety of radio frequency bands. These waves are significantly wider than laser beams, making them easy to detect at any distance–even 10 miles away!
Laser speed detection is a significantly narrower beam, making its detection much more difficult, especially at short ranges. Radar senses a general area, believed to give a speed reading for your vehicle (though it could be sensing somebody else's). Laser, on the other hand, can target specific parts of your vehicle for an accurate reading.
Most of the radar detectors we sell come with mounting kits for the dash, along with suction cups for windshield installation. Some units come with a clip for visor use, making your unit more concealed.
The most effective place to mount your radar detector is low on your windshield. Law enforcement aims laser guns at your front license plate or headlight. Positioning your detector low gives you a better chance of reading a laser aimed at this part of your vehicle.