Avoid speed-trap tickets with a radar & laser detector - Under $30

By Paul Michael on 18 January 2008 (Updated 18 August 2011) 18 comments

I know I am going to get a bunch of negative feedback on this one so let me put those issues on the table immediately. This article is NOT intended to help people speed. In fact, I'm absolutely against speeding, being the father of two young children and a very careful driver. Radar detectors are a constant reminder to keep your speed down, and if you do happen to enter a dreaded speed-trap, this little device from Buy.com will save you the cost of a ticket and those inevitable insurance hikes.

Speed-traps are exactly that. They're places where high numbers of tickets are issued by police due to several factors, including poor signage, quickly changing speed limits and the demand for increased ticket revenue.

When my state (Colorado) had budget problems a few years ago, the number of tickets issued spiked significantly. My wife and I both got a ticket within 7 days of each other, on a stretch of road that goes from 55mph to 45mph to 35mph in the space of around 1-2 miles. The resulting tickets issued, and insurance raises, cost us well over $400 that year. And those costs continued until the tickets came off last year.

My best friend alsogot a ticket recently. He wasn't going above the speed limit, he was accelerating quickly from 10 to 30. The radar gun flagged him as doing over 50mph in a 30mph zone, but he had never even reached 30mph. THis is something that could probably have been successfully argued in court, but he did what most of us do...he just paid the ticket and took the point and insurance raises.

Enter the radar detector from Buy.com . It's less than $30 ($28.99, down from $99.95), comes with FREE shipping, windshield mount and power cord, and should help to make your driving both safer and less costly. Like I said earlier and I will restate, this is not a license to speed. Quite the opposite, it's something that you should use to stay legal, kill your speed and monitor your driving habits. I know plenty of people will have opposing opinions, and sure, there are boy-racers out there who are clearly using them for the wrong reasons. But my intent is to ensure you aren't caught in those speed traps that can take any of us by surprise, and end up costing us a fortune.

Is it legal? This should explain it all:

The FCC passed the Communications Act in 1934 to give all citizens the right to receive all types of radio transmissions. The same radio frequencies used by police radar are also used by other devices, such as automatic door openers, burglar alarms, and some amateur radio equipment. Since the RMR-D240 is just a radio receiver tuned to a specific portion of the public radio spectrum, it is protected under this act.

 

 

 

 

and this:

The use of a radar detector in a passenger vehicle is legal in all states with the exception of Virginia, Washington DC. and on military bases.

Radar detectors are illegal in all commercial vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds

In Canada, the only three provinces that allow their use are Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

Many overseas countries also ban their use, such as Portugal, Finland and Spain.

In areas that radar detectors are illegal, law enforcement use a device called the Spectre that is able to detect the use of radar detector in your car or truck.

 

 

 

 

Remember, stay safe and legal folks. Happy driving.

Note: $28.99 + free shipping deal correct at time of publication.

 

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Guest's picture
Sherpa Rob

Paul-

This has to be one of the cheaper radar detectors I've seen, which is great. However, several of my mechanic friends have told me that radar detectors fall under the category of "you get what you pay for". I drive like an 80yo woman to avoid moving violations, but if I were to invest in a radar detector, I've been told that multi-directional systems are the best. Fortunately, my donations to my local Police force have yielded a nice collection of PBA cards for less than what one of those fancy radar detectors would cost :)

Guest's picture
EB

Sherpa Rob: I would think if you drove like an 80 year old woman, you'd be incurring violations left and right! LOL.

Guest's picture
Barbara

Virginia is the one state (commonwealth!) where it's illegal...

grrr!

Paul Michael's picture

I have made countless donations to PBA, have the stickers in my car, it made no difference for either me or my wife. Still, remember this is a $100 detector in sale. I'm sure $500 detectors are way better, but I checked out the reviews and almost everyone gave it 5 out of 5.

Guest's picture
Guest

Just remember, radar moves at the speed of light. If the radar detector goes off, those same waves have already bounced back to the police officer, and they already have your speed. Think of it as an early warning system that you will be pulled over more than protection from speed traps.

Guest's picture
Skyler

This is only if an officer is using an "instant on" radar detector, which are much more expensive than what the average underfunded police station has. Standard radar detector's "beam" is actually more like a cloud when in use. Thus, your detector is actually seeing the cloud from over a half mile away (for the good-to-great ones). This is also why detectors will go off in front of grocery stores, as the automatic doors are using the same "cloud" spray for their radar.

Guest's picture

And, like light, radar waves bounce around. So, you CAN detect them early enough to slow down. Also, most states require the officer to have a 'tracking history' of your speed. If you're going fast initially, then slow down quickly, the officer won't be able to document a tracking history of you speeding.

I don't actually use my radar detector as a radar detector at all. I use mine as a 'cop finder'.

SpeedTrapAhead.org

Guest's picture
Michelle

My husband used to use a radar detector before he got married, and it led to him driving more dangerously and getting more tickets.

He drove more dangerously because he would brake any time the detector gave him a signal. Often, this would be caused by a nearby semi. He would brake even if he was not speeding. This led to dangerous erratic driving.

Also, whenever he did get pulled over for any kind of minor moving violation, the officer would see his detector and give him the largest possible ticket instead of a warning. It should make sense that the officers aren't to fond of people who use this technology.

Save your money and don't buy one of these.

Guest's picture
Guest

Valentine1 is the way to go when it comes to radar detectors. The times it has saved me from getting a speeding ticket, over the past 8 yrs, has more than paid for it.

And you never need buy/upgrade (to) a second radar detector. Just send your V1 in for an upgrade when they have new technology available.

Guest's picture
BeckyM

Be careful purchasing things from Buy.com; I've heard some bad things about them: http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Buy

Guest's picture
plonkee

Or, save even more money and stick to the legal speed limit?

Guest's picture
Guest

I find a couple of these responses scary. One response infers that by "donating" to your local police department, you'll get less tickets. So, that sounds like bribery (which people of third world nations have to do in order to get along with the local police). Another one says that if you have something in your car that is legal to own, you can be assured of getting harrassed by the police ("get the largest possible ticket"). What does that say about our free country that we should be afraid of our police force? I am not a speeder, at least not intentionally. But the times I have gotten a ticket were times when I was driving in the exact circumstances Paul described: on roads that you wouldn't expect a low speed limit and the speed limit had changed without my noticing it, because the road didn't change. And how many signs have you seen that were obscured by things on the road, like trees and such? So, what someone needs to invent is a radar detector that doesn't look like one.

Guest's picture
Ron

I am a 25 year veteran of a Midwest police department. Let me say first that this is my opinion. In no way do I speak for any other police officer or agency.

I would like to remind you that you commented about two poster’s opinions, not statements of fact, regarding their perceptions of how they should be treated when stopped for speeding. In one case, the person believes special treatment is deserved for contributing to a police-related entity and in another, the commenter says they that they did, in fact, receive “special treatment” for having a radar detector in their car at the time of the traffic stop. You then seemed to attribute this to highly unethical behavior on the part of police. You finished by giving examples in which you were caught breaking the law for reasons that were entirely the fault of others, not you. You obviously have an axe to grind.

I take many things into consideration when issuing a speeding ticket. This is not all encompassing but here are a few, with my comments:

1. The severity of the infraction – 30 MPH over is worse than 11 over so this is self-explanatory.
2. Complaints from residents in the area – I go where the complaints are and I write tickets to abate those complaints. To do otherwise would make people think I do not care about them.
3. Driving record – If you have a poor driving record and you are still speeding, expect a ticket. On the other hand if you don’t have a record at all or a relatively good one I really don’t want to add to it.
4. Time of day/traffic/accidents in area – If it’s a problem area you will probably get a ticket.
5. Demeanor – Yep, your attitude matters. Like it or not, this is what I think. If you are polite and concerned that you broke the law I assume you care and it was a momentary lapse of judgment. If, however, it is your desire to “put me in my place” for simply doing my job, I must consider the possibility that you selfishly believe you are above the law and are allowed to endanger the lives of the people I work for. I may not be able to change that attitude but I may cause you to alter your driving route through my community.
6. Discretion – Do I have the discretion to pick and choose whom I give tickets to? Yes, I do. I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m not going to write my mother one. My wife will get a pass, too. It is my hope that they love and respect me and therefore sheer embarrassment will cause them to act more responsibly the next time. And whether you agree with this or not, I feel like I’ve given a lot of good people that I didn’t know a break over the last 25 years so if I stop my next door neighbor and decide to let him off with a warning I’ll accept your criticism about it with a shrug.

Guest's picture
eclecticlaw

Ron has the same problem as most cops,... he thinks he is a judge.

Guest's picture
Pax

Radar detectors don't cause bad driving, bad drivers do. He sure snowed you with the detector excuse and now you blame the technology, but the responsibility is still with the driver.

We have, by and large, pretty much the worst drivers of any modernized Western country here in the states...and police departments that love to profit off of it rather than improve driver education and enforce the things that are more dangerous (tailgating, for example).

Guest's picture
Michelle

Pax, I certainly agree that my husband was a pretty poor driver at the time (this was years ago, and it has gotten better). Most of the traffic stops would have been avoided by better driving.

However, the best of drivers get pulled over now and then. If you have one of these devices, it may be taken as a sign that you speed. It's likely that the officer will ticket you when they have the chance, even if they otherwise would have given a warning.

Paul Michael's picture

I contribute to the Police charities because I have a good friend who is a cop, and I know how devastating it can be to the family of an officer who has fallen in the line of duty. All I was saying is that my stickers in my car have done nothing for me. Ever. And that's probably right, because otherwise it is a form of bribery, or worse still, a protection racket.

Guest's picture
Guest

I'ts my opinion that RMR radar detector is about as effective as putting a brick or donut on your dashboard and attaching a lighter cord to it.

Their are some cheaper radar detectors out there that will get the job done, but.....the one mentioned isn't one of them