Are Radar Detectors Allowed in New York?


Do you ever find yourself pushing the speed limit when you’re confident that there are no police around? Well, some drivers use radar detectors to determine if there are radar guns nearby. These devices give habitual speeders the freedom to drive as fast as they want without the fear of getting caught. But the question remains: Are radar detectors legal in New York?

The Legality of Radar Detectors in New York

If you drive a regular passenger vehicle in New York, you are actually allowed to have a radar detector or laser detector if you wish. However, there are a few restrictions to keep in mind. Mounting the device on your windshield, or anywhere that obstructs your vision, is strictly prohibited.

According to Section 397 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, radar detectors are only forbidden in motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 18,000 pounds or more. This also includes commercial motor vehicles with a GVWR exceeding 10,000 pounds, as well as vehicles designed to transport more than 9 passengers for compensation, or more than 16 passengers for free.

It’s important to note that federal laws also prohibit the use of radar detectors in these specific vehicles. So if you’re caught with a radar detector in any of these vehicles, you can be ticketed, even if you were driving within the speed limit.

Radar Detectors vs. Radar Jammers

It’s crucial to differentiate between detecting law enforcement devices and jamming them. Radar jamming devices are illegal in all states, including New York. On the other hand, laser jammers, designed to confuse laser guns, are not prohibited.

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However, it’s worth mentioning that these devices may not be as effective as some people hope. To obtain a reliable radar detector, you would need to spend approximately $500 to $700. As for laser jammers, they don’t always provide full protection, potentially resulting in a speeding ticket. Additionally, laser jammers require custom installation at various points on your vehicle, which can cost at least $600 for a unit that works most of the time.

Our Stance on Radar Detectors

At Garrity Traina, we always emphasize the importance of obeying the law and driving safely. Speeding is incredibly dangerous and can lead to accidents and injuries. While we don’t endorse speeding, we understand that some individuals spend long hours on the road and may unintentionally slip up. For these drivers, radar detectors can provide an extra layer of protection.

If you believe that having a radar detector in your car can help you avoid unnecessary encounters with the police, we are more than willing to discuss the legality of these devices with you. However, it’s crucial to remember that police officers are human beings too. Some may take offense at the presence of radar detectors, potentially resulting in stricter penalties or missed opportunities for a warning.

If you do receive a speeding ticket, it’s important not to simply accept it. Contact our law office for assistance in handling your case.


In conclusion, radar detectors are indeed legal in New York for regular passenger vehicles, as long as they are not mounted in a way that obstructs your vision. However, the use of radar detectors is strictly prohibited in specific vehicles outlined by the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law and federal regulations. It’s important to understand the difference between radar detectors and radar jammers, as jammers are illegal in all states.

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While we advocate for safe driving and obedience to the law, we acknowledge that some drivers may find radar detectors helpful, especially during long hours on the road. If you have any questions or concerns about the legality of radar detectors in New York, feel free to reach out to Garrity Traina.

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