The Legality of Radar Detectors

“Are radar detectors legal?”

Well, that’s not something I can answer quickly. It really depends on where you are. Their use is illegal in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. They are legal in British Colombia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. In Canada, it’s better to assume it is illegal.


If you are travelling in the US, there are a few places that have made radar detectors illegal but they are in the minority. The list of places where they are illegal may be short but it is essential that you are aware of them. Virginia, Washington DC and on military bases comprise the total list. Other than that, radar detectors are legal in all states in personal vehicles. The reason that I specifically use the word “personal” vehicles is because in almost every state it is illegal to have a radar detector in commercial vehicles. Beyond that, federal law dictates that any commercial vehicle over 10,000lbs cannot have radar detectors. On top of that, they are illegal in commercial vehicles by the state laws of Illinois, New York and New Jersey as well as any vehicle over 18,000lbs. This is for both commercial and personal.


There is a difference between radar detectors and radar jammers. Jammers are illegal to use in the US no matter where you are. The conclusion of this is that, in most places in the US, it’s perfectly legal to have radar detectors in your vehicle so long as you are not breaking any other laws in the process. In California you are not allowed to have anything attached to your windshield and that’s where most radar detectors get mounted. It is not okay to use them for the purpose of intentionally breaking the law. Don’t use them that way.

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