California Radar Detector Laws

Radar detectors can be used as a neat little warning system that will alert you when you’re about to drive by a police speed radar.

Though there are many people who misuse these devices, you can use it as a way to ensure that you aren’t unintentionally driving over the limit: Going 40 mph in a 35 mph zone, for instance.

Even though you might be motivated to adhere to all traffic rules no matter what, it can be an added safety measure.

With that said, whether or not using these devices is legal is something you’re going to have to consider before buying one and installing it in your car.

Every U.S. state has its own rules and regulations in place when it comes to the legality of radar detectors, including California. So, are radar detectors legal in California? Find out in this article.

Relevant Restrictions

Solar powered speed indicator

California has made radar detectors legal, but there are some caveats and limitations to the law that you need to know about.

Here is what the California radar detector laws state about mounting and using these appliances.

Windshield Mounting

It is illegal for you to mount your radar detectors on the windshield of your car. This is mainly because they can hinder your field of view and distract you. The same applies to pretty much any device that you mount on your windshield.

However, you can simply find another suitable mounting point, such as the dashboard or any other accessible spot that will not distract you.

As long as you are driving a private vehicle, you can install and use a radar detector legally.

However, you cannot use it in a commercially owned vehicle, especially because commercial vehicles are heavy and pose a greater safety risk.

Dash-mounted radar detector

Although this is what the California law states, the federal law permits commercial vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 lbs to use radar detectors.

Driving By a Military Base

It is illegal for you to use a radar detector if you are in a military area. The same also applies to simply driving past the area, which is why you must uninstall it beforehand.

This is mainly because such radar detectors and their frequencies can end up altering and ruining the radars being employed in military devices and machines.

Will I Be Pulled Over for Using a Radar Detector?

As long as you haven’t mounted the radar detector on your windshield, you will not be pulled over for using it. Also, if you’re using it in a commercial vehicle, the police will pull you over and charge you.

If you go over the speed limit and if police radars notice you before your radar detector is able to alert you, you are likely to get pulled over.

Similar to radars are LiDARs that can send out laser signals instead of radio waves to detect obstacles. The police might be able to sense your speed even through these.

Radar Detector Alternatives

There are some alternatives to radar detectors that can serve the same or similar function, such as phone applications, GPS, LiDars and laser jammers.

Confirm their legality in advance to avoid any hassle; for instance, laser jammers are illegal in California.

State of California Info

Flag of California

Sitting in the western part of the United States, California is the country’s third-largest state and its most populous.

Bordering Nevada, Arizona, Baja California, and Oregon, the Golden State is known for its cable cars, a 900-mile coastline along the Pacific, redwood forests, and historic monuments.

Population: 39,185,605
Capital: Sacramento
Area: 163,695 mi²
Registered vehicles: 14,201,400
Total lane miles: 386,604
Number of highways: 25

Wikipedia | State Website

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