Radar detectors are considered extremely useful in most states, allowing drivers to stick to the permitted speed limits and avoiding heavy fines.
While 49 states in the country are on board with this idea and treat radar detectors as legal, there are always exceptions; Washington, DC, in this case.
Along with the state of Virginia, the District of Columbia (Washington, DC, is technically not a state but a capital district) outlaws the use of any radar devices in all types of vehicles, except for certain ones owned by the Government.
Here’s everything you need to know about radar detector laws in the country’s capital.
Legality of Radar Detectors in Washington D.C.
Are radar detectors legal in Washington, DC? Long story short, they aren’t.
The laws surrounding this are laid out in the District of Columbia Administrative Code, detailed in Chapter 18-7, “Motor Vehicles Equipments” of Title 18 “Vehicles and Traffic”.
As per Rule 18-736 “Radar Detectors and Jammers” of the chapter, the usage and possession of radar detectors, and any devices engineered to counter police radars, are illegal in automobiles in Washington, DC, attracting heavy penalties for violators of the law.
Even possession of disconnected and powered-off detectors is illegal in the district. Additionally, the sale of the aforementioned devices is also banned in the district.
The law applies to any vehicles passing through D.C., even if they are entering a state from another state that legally permits radar detectors.
Radar devices may be permitted only in equipment and vehicles used by the United States Armed Forces.
The use, sale, and/or possession of a radar detector and other devices that counter or block police radars from doing their duty can attract a citation and a fine of up to $300, as well as the confiscation of the device.
The most surefire way of avoiding a penalty is to simply not have a radar detector or device in your possession while traveling through Washington, D.C.
Though the device will tell you if radar guns are being used in the area by law enforcement agents, police also use advanced technology such as pacing, LiDAR, and VASCAR to detect and catch speeding vehicles, in addition to or instead of radar guns.
While these devices can detect your radar detector, your radar detector will not be able to detect any of them. Therefore, if you’re intentionally speeding, fueled by a false sense of confidence owing to your radar detector, you might just end up guilty of two violations.
Police may also use radar detector-detectors (RDDs), which can easily pick up signals from your device and let police know that you have a radar detector in your possession.
Therefore, to keep yourself safe from tickets, as well as the risk of accidents, simply do it the old-fashioned way — keep an eye on the speedometer, stick to permitted speed limits, and drive carefully and responsibly.
If you’re traveling through DC with a radar detector, make sure that you turn it off/disconnect it and put it in the trunk of your car to avoid being pulled over.
Do this before you enter the district, and if you wish to put your radar detector back on, do it after you’ve exited the district’s limits. However, this is no guarantee against being charged.
State of Washington D.C. Info
Formally known as the District of Columbia, Washington D.C. or just D.C. is the capital of the United States.
Named after George Washington, the first president and Founding Father of the country, Washington D.C. is the seat of the federal government of the U.S. and many other international organizations, which makes it a very important political capital in the world.
Capital: Washington D.C.
Registered vehicles: 210,297
Total lane miles: 1,500
Number of highways: 2