In Which States Are Radar Detectors Illegal and Why?

In Which States Are Radar Detectors Illegal and Why?

As we all know, radar detectors are meant for drivers to be able to detect nearby traffic and police cars with speed guns nearby.

This device alerts you with everything you need to know about the speed limit you're driving at so you can avoid getting speeding ticket, the routes you're taking so you can avoid traffic, how much gas you have left so you can find the nearest gas station and many more.

But such a device is mostly used by police officers. They are state law enforcers and need these kinds of advantages when they are doing their job. So, it’s not surprising that some states won't legalize this device for common citizens. Let’s get to find out in which states radar detectors are illegal and for what reasons.

In Which States Are Radar Detectors Illegal and Why?

There is a list of states in the United States where radar detectors are illegal, including California, Detroit, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The primary reason behind the illegalization is because it distracts the drivers very easily, leading to potential accidents on the road. These radar detectors can also obstruct the driver’s line of view, further imposing a driving hazard.

Radar Detectors

First, let's talk about a few of the original laws regarding possession of radar detection devices in the US:

  • The use of laser speed or radar detectors is illegal in all commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds.
  • Radar detectors are illegal to be used in any vehicle in the District of Columbia and the State of Virginia.
  • Radar detectors are illegal to be used in any vehicle during military installations.
  • Radar detectors are legal to be used in any passenger or private vehicle in every other state.

Now let us read about a few states that have legalized radar detectors and the states that have not by discussing the radar detector laws vary in those very states.

Radar Detector


According to the Radar Detector Laws in the State of Alabama, civilians aren’t banned from using radar detectors. It is 100% legal in Alabama. This state instead encourages people to use them since radar detectors are very helpful in preventing traffic and accidents due to speeding.

But there is an exception. Even though it is 100% legal for private or passenger vehicles to have radar detectors, commercial vehicles are however prohibited from using it.

New York

In the State of New York, civilians have permission to use radar detectors legally. However, it's illegal in the case of commercial vehicles and any other vehicle that weighs over 18000 pounds.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, radar detectors are also legal all over but not for commercial vehicles. Drivers of commercial vehicles rely on the company, so their actions while using radar detectors will be the company’s responsibility. That’s why it was made illegal for commercial vehicles.


Private car owners can use radar detectors. But drivers of commercials vehicles are banned from having radar detectors in possession. This is because owners of their own private cars will be responsible for any accidents they cause from speeding as they avoid police radar detectors.


Georgia prohibits radar detectors for all citizens despite who owns the vehicle or what kind of vehicle it is. It is only legal for police officers.


The State of Colorado legalizes the use of radar detectors on the road with no exceptions to any driver and any vehicle.

Radar Detectors


It is completely legal to use radar detectors in California, but you are not allowed to mount the radar detector right on your vehicle's windshield. If you do that, then it is considered illegal.


It is the same in Minnesota as it is in California. You can use radar detectors, but you have to avoid mounting them on your windshield.


The Florida State allows private car drivers to use radar detectors but not commercial vehicles or vehicles weighing over 10000 pounds.


The capital state of the United States of America has legalized the usage of radar detectors for private vehicles. But it is illegal and unauthorized for commercial vehicles.


In the State of Virginia, radar detectors to be used by anyone other than federal law enforcers are illegal.

We can briefly discuss the 40 other states and their legal issues around the ownership of radar detectors.

In the States of Alaska, Montana, Iowa, Arkansas, Maryland, Nevada, Connecticut, Idaho, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kansas, Arizona, Maine, Kentucky, Delaware, West Virginia, Michigan, South Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Nebraska, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Vermont, New Mexico, Hawaii, North Carolina, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Illinois, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming, the federal laws apply the same way.

For these states, the law for possession of radar detectors is permitted for private vehicles but not for commercial vehicles or large and heavy vehicles.

The reason why radar detectors are legal in some states, and not others is quite simple. Despite the advantages you get from a radar detector that makes your everyday life easy, this device is still vastly used to violate the law. Most people use it to avoid police officers nearby and try speeding.

This causes accidents. And for the states that partially allow radar detectors for civilians but not commercial vehicles are because they want to prevent drug businesses from excelling. They also don't want large, heavy vehicles speeding on the road.

And the possibility of catching criminals becomes harder for the police as well since criminals can get their hands on radar detectors to sneak past police cars.

Radar Detectors

Final Words

Radar detectors are very helpful for all kinds of drivers of all kinds of vehicles. Whether it's a motorcycle radar detector or detector meant for cars and trucks, you can still get advantages from owning a radar detector.

But such high-tech devices are mainly used by police officers to check traffic, nearby accidents, or speeding cars. It's no wonder that the state wouldn't allow normal civilians or companies to use such a device to their advantage.

Some states in the US have legalized the radar detector; some states allow for specific cars, and others banned it completely. So be careful and keep tabs on knowledge regarding which states let radar detectors be illegal.

joshua mattie

Joshua D. Mattie

My motorbike addiction began with 50cc at 5 years old. I rode motocross as a teenager & into my 20's when I worked as a mechanic. This helped me to see the light—sportbikes & cruisers became a passion. Now I'm building BikersRights to be the #1 resource for everything on 2 wheels!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Comment: