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Buy Radar Detectors Blog

  • Are red light cameras unethical?

    Red Light Camera InstallationFew traffic enforcement schemes raise the ire of the modern driver more than electronic ticketing. These systems take several forms, including speed enforcement, toll booth cameras, and the like. One type of ticketing system considered particularly annoying to many drivers, and perhaps even downright dangerous, may also be the most unethical. It's the red light camera.

    The traffic light is crucial to safety at an intersection. It is designed to keep the flow of traffic moving in multiple directions in a regimented and organized way. Of course, the effectiveness of this device depends on the full compliance by every driver to obey traffic light signals, without exception. Go on green, slow and prepare to stop on yellow, and come to a full stop on red. It's a simple concept for drivers to understand and follow, and for most part the system works very well.

    The downside to this system is that it relies on the willingness of every driver to follow the rules completely. The truth is, drivers are not machines, they are human, and being human, they do not always follow the rules. If one person does not obey the traffic light signals, particularly when the light turns red, the results can be more than just disruptive, they can be deadly.

    For this reason, there are laws to ensure compliance by all drivers, and law enforcement agencies invoke tickets, fines and other penalties to deter those drivers who violate them.

    Unfortunately, things happen, sometimes intended, sometimes not, and a driver may run a red light, placing that individual and everyone else around at risk.

    Enter the red light camera. Cameras are placed at an intersection to monitor red light runners and catch them in the act, recording their moving violation for ticketing electronically by mail.

    At the outset, the concept of the red light camera is a logical one, an almost foolproof, technologically advanced solution to purportedly save lives. In fact, studies have shown that in many cases, red light camera ticketing systems reduced the number of front and side collisions at intersections by as much as thirty percent! Certainly there is no downside to that!

    But like every coin, there is another side to the story. In addition to tickets, red light cameras also generate ticket revenue, a lot of revenue. Red light camera systems bring in millions to the companies that operate them, and contribute serious cash to city coffers and municipalities that allow them to be installed.

    On the surface, that doesn't seem like such a bad deal. Enforce the traffic laws, save lives, and profit in the process. It's a win-win, right?

    Well, not exactly. In many situations, it's more like a win-lose.

    For one, The companies that install and operate these devices are not law enforcement agencies, nor are they DOT engineers. Yet, it seems that the contracts with these companies allow them to have a lot of latitude in the decisions as to where and how these red light cameras are installed and used.

    One would think that these red light cameras would be placed at the intersections which need them the most to deter violators and increase traffic safety. Some of these intersections are not always high traffic areas, they are simply more dangerous and prone to accidents caused by red light runners.

    Instead, more often than not, the cameras wind up installed at the busiest intersections rather than the most dangerous ones, with the placement simply based on the volume of traffic at an intersection, nothing more. Such arbitrary placement raises the suspicion and argument that red light cameras exist to raise revenue, not promote safety, especially when they are installed in cash strapped communities.

    Another issue is the yellow light. The yellow light was initially created as a safety feature of the conventional traffic light system. It exists to warn drivers that the light is about to turn red, allowing the drivers time to prepare for a safe stop.

    But that's not its application at many intersections where red light cameras are installed. To increase the likelihood of catching, or to more accurately put it, ensnaring red light runners on camera, the yellow light is often shortened considerably, sometimes to only one or two seconds, giving the driver little to no preparation at all to safely stop in time. Some drivers have even reported the complete absence of the yellow light, increasing the chances of causing an unintentional violation, an accident, or both.

    And there's more. Other studies have shown that while red light cameras reduce the number of front and side collisions, the number of rear-end collisions actually increase by roughly the same margins, thereby offsetting the reduction of the others. Sometimes known as the bumper car effect, these collisions occur when drivers suddenly slam on their brakes to avoid an instantaneous red light camera trap and get rear ended by one or more vehicles behind them who were also caught by surprise. It is a rather common occurrence and supports the argument that the red light cameras themselves are a safety hazard. It is also a detail often glossed over or omitted from studies performed that favor these devices.

    That's not all. These red light cameras are supposed to catch violators who blow through an intersection after the light turns red. Unfortunately, they are often set up so that drivers who are already in the intersection lawfully when the light changes may be caught and ticketed as well. This can often occur if a driver is stuck in an intersection while waiting to make a left hand turn and oncoming traffic is heavy or the driver yields to pedestrians in the crosswalk towards which the vehicle is turning.

    In addition, the sensors for these red light cameras are often calibrated to detect a vehicle that may cross the stop line at an intersection or overshoot it a little. In this scenario, the vehicle certainly comes to a full stop and doesn't run the light. The driver may have merely misjudged the line, or perhaps overshot it a little bit if the light changed to red without ample warning and forced a sudden stop. In this case, the driver would clearly be attempting to obey the law, but gets ticketed anyway.

    These red light cameras have also been known to catch and ticket drivers who makes a right hand turn at a stoplight, at intersections where it is perfectly lawful to do so. Getting a ticket for obeying the law doesn't exactly generate the warm fuzzies for red light cameras, or for the entities that run them.

    It doesn't help when a red light camera is set up in such a way that it captures the driver of the vehicle that allegedly commits the violation, but tickets the owner of said vehicle and holds that individual liable. The driver and owner are not always one and the same, yet the system doesn't seem to care. This certainly isn't fair, and adds more ammo to the argument that red light cameras do not exist to promulgate safety, prevent accidents or punish transgressors, but simply to produce profit, and as much as possible, any way they can.

    It added points on your license? You weren't at the wheel? Too bad. Sorry for you. It doesn't matter who gets the ticket, as long as it brings in the revenue.

    Of course, these electronic tickets generated from red light cameras can be contested in traffic court. Many are, and often successfully so. However, the tickets are usually priced strategically at a threshold, not to deter red light running, but to maximize the odds that the unlucky recipients will decide to simply pay the ticket instead of disputing it. After all, taking a day off to go to court, especially if it's not in your immediate area, is a hassle. And if you live in another city or another state, it may cost more to make the trip to the courthouse than the ticket is worth.

    The red light camera companies know this. The cities that cater to them know this too. They're not just aware of it. They may even be counting on it.

    The dark alliance between these red light camera companies and the municipalities that patronize them is a troubling one, especially considering some of the practices involved in the installation and operation of these devices in many areas of the country. For municipalities blinded by dollar signs, the lure of easy revenue under the pretense of public safety is difficult to resist. For red light camera companies, their past performance and ethics - or lack of them - clearly indicate it's all about the money.

    Many drivers are exasperated with the red light camera systems, and some are just fed up. They view them as revenue streams for governments while increasing risks on roads. Many consider red light camera systems unethical, and even downright dangerous. Many view them as accidents waiting to happen.

    Fortunately, a few states are listening to drivers, and are addressing the issue of red light cameras by enacting some restrictions on their use, or passing legislation to ban them altogether.

    One state that paved the way was Mississippi. In 2009, the state passed a law to remove existing red light cameras and outlaw the installation of any new ones. Arizona said goodbye to red light cameras the following year. Several other states also banned red light cameras, and many more passed laws to restrict their use to certain locations, jurisdictions or situations.

    The latest state to join the caravan is Texas. In June 2019, Texas banned the use of red light cameras. It also plans to remove existing systems already installed across the state at the end of their contracts. Here is a list of states that currently ban red light cameras.

    Although some states now have laws on the books that prohibit or limit the use of red light cameras, there are many more states that either embrace these devices, or have no laws on their use at all.

    If you live in or visit an area equipped with red light cameras, be mindful when driving through intersections on those roads. Here are a few quick tips to make it past a red light camera lawfully, safely, and avoid a ticket:

    • Be careful when approaching such intersections.
    • Provide as much distance between you and the vehicle ahead as is reasonably possible.
    • Be prepared to stop with little to no warning.
    • Avoid sitting in the middle of an intersection while waiting to make a left hand turn.
    • Don't pull out into an intersection to turn if the light is changing.
    • Avoid leaning past the stop line when stopping at an intersection with a red light.
    • Also, be extremely careful when making a right turn on red. It may be legal, but it may not stop you from getting an electronic ticket anyway.

    Many drivers are particularly anxious about intersections equipped with red light cameras, and try to avoid them altogether when possible. Some intersections have them, others don't, so one may be able to plan a route with a minimum number red light cameras on the way, and in some areas it may be possible change your route to avoid them altogether. This is where a radar detector can help.

    Many radar detectors available today feature red light camera detection. These detectors are usually equipped with a database of all known locations and intersections where red light cameras are installed or actively in use. Here is a list of current radar detectors with red light and speed camera detection.

    There are also products available that offer a countermeasure for red light and speed camera systems. They can be an economical and somewhat effective type of camera defense, however they may or may not be legal in some states. Check the state license plate laws for your jurisdiction before you invest in one of these countermeasures.

    What do you think? Are red light cameras safety devices, or safety hazards? Are red light cameras unethical? Leave your comments below.

  • States that ban red light cameras

    Surveillance CamerasAmong electronic ticketing systems now in use across the US, The red light camera is perhaps the most controversial. It is the bane of many a driver, and can cause considerable anxiety on the road.

    Many state allow red light cameras, and some are quite happy with the revenue they generate. Fortunately for drivers in some states, red light cameras are restricted or outright banned. The latest state to ban red light cameras is Texas.

    In June 2019, the governor of Texas passed a law banning red light cameras in his state. Red light camera systems currently in place will be removed at the end of their contracts.

    Currently eleven states prohibit the use of red light cameras.

    • Arkansas
    • Maine
    • Mississippi
    • Montana
    • Nevada
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • South Carolina
    • Texas
    • West Virginia
    • Wisconsin

    Several other states limit their use to certain types of roadways, locations or conditions. Arkansas prohibits the use of red light cameras except in school zone and railroad crossings with an officer present. Nevada prohibits them except when hand held by a law enforcement officer in a law enforcement facility or vehicle.

    If you live in one of the states listed above, no worries. If your state is not on the list, consider buying a radar detector with red light camera detection. Many modern detectors have them. Even if you don't speed, a radar detector can help you navigate and possibly avoid other potential road hazards such as red light cameras at intersections. Here is a list of radar detectors equipped with red light camera detection.

  • Radar detectors with red light camera detection

    Radar Detector with Red Light Camera DetectionRed light cameras are the bane of many drivers, and can make some of them quite anxious. This can be especially stressful when traveling through an unfamiliar area where red light camera systems may be installed, but not advertised.

    Is that device above the traffic light or on top of the post at the next intersection a DOT traffic monitor? Or is it a red light camera, waiting to flash your photo for a ticket as you pass?

    There are so many different sensors and tech gadgets attached to poles and installed around streets these days, Sometimes it is difficult to tell. Until you get that ticket in the mail, you won't know for sure, and then it's too late.

    But it doesn't have to be that way. There is tech available to help you defend against red light and speed cameras. There is also a device that can help you get ahead of the curve, or the intersection, so to speak. You may already have one, but if you don't it's a good time to get one. It's a radar detector with red light camera detection.

    Here is a list of radar detectors currently available Buy Radar Detectors in 2019 that can detect and/or alert you to threats from intersections equipped with red light camera systems.

    Radar Detectors with Traffic Camera Detection
    Brand Model Detects Speed Camera Detects Red Light Camera Built-in Database
    Cobra
    DSP 9200BT
    Escort Redline EX
    Redline iX
    MAX 360c
    Radenso XP
    Pro M
    Uniden DFR9
    R3
    R7
    Whistler
    5075EXS
  • Uniden R7 Radar Detector video

    A couple of years ago, Uniden took the industry by storm with the R3 radar detector, boasting great performance and great filtering. In January 2019, Uniden announced the R7 Radar/Laser Detector, and since their announcement, the excitement has been building over the release of this product. Well, the R7 is finally here, and is available at Buy Radar Detectors.

    This video hosted by Danny Feemster introduces The Uniden R7, compares it to the R3 and talks about its new features. Buy Radar Detectors is an Authorized Uniden dealer.

     

  • Can police find out if you have a radar detector?

    Hiding a Radar DetectorA radar detector can be an effective countermeasure against police radar and traffic enforcement devices. A detector is also legal to own and use in most areas of the US, unless you are a commercial (CDL) driver, are operating a vehicle on a military base or are located in Virginia or Washington, D.C. If you drive in any of those scenarios, you can't have a radar detector. The problem is, if you own a radar detector where it is legal, but happen to commute to or travel through an area where it isn't, you could get in trouble quickly if law enforcement authorities discover one in your possession.

    But is it a real risk? Can police find out if you have a radar detector?

    Yes, they can! Absolutely they can, and it's easy. All they need is a radar detector detector.

    What is a radar detector detector?
    Simply put, a radar detector detector (RDD) is a device that detects the presence of a radar detector. These devices allow law enforcement to locate and identify vehicles in which a radar detection device has been placed or installed, and is in active operation. Many law enforcement agencies have them, especially in areas where radar detectors are restricted or not allowed.

    How do radar detector detectors work?
    A radar detector is a radio device, with the ability to search out and receive Super High Frequency (8.500-24.35 GHz) and Extremely High Frequency (33.4-36.0 GHz) radio waves in the radar bands used by authorities for speed and traffic enforcement. Although the detector is a receiver, it also emits or "leaks" radio frequencies (RF) of its own. All radar detectors produce these RF signals, and this leakage can be picked up by another receiver tuned to those frequencies. A radar detector detector is specifically designed to do this, and can do so from a considerable distance away.

    What are the types of radar detector detectors?
    There are different types of radar detector detectors. The VG-2 Interceptor was the first of its kind, and for a time, VG-2 was the standard used. It wasn't long before radar detector manufacturers designed their detectors to effectively defeat the VG-2, and nearly all detectors sold today have VG-2 protection. This rendered VG-2 ineffective. It is seldom, if ever, used by police today.

    Another type of RDD is Spectre. It eventually replaced the VG-2. The Spectre I was popular with law enforcement, and quite effective, until the manufacturers of radar detectors developed a countermeasure for it as well. The Spectre I was eventually replaced by the Spectre II, and in 2004, the Spectre III. The RDD currently used in the US is the Spectre IV, or Spectre Elite.

    Where are radar detector detectors used?
    Police typically use RDD in areas where radar detectors are not allowed or are illegal, although some may use them in areas where detectors are allowed for use by the general public. This is done in an effort to identify commercial vehicles that are not allowed to have them.

    Are some radar detectors undetectable?
    All radar detectors leak, some more than others. However, some detectors have shielding and other technology in place to minimize the leakage to varying degrees. Some are undetectable within a few feet of the RDD device. These are considered adequate for stealth operation, since most RDD units will be positioned outside that range.

    The stealthiest detectors avoid detection from RDDs within several inches of an RDD unit. This is especially important if the radar detector is installed in the vehicle instead of mounted on the dash, as the latter can be quickly disabled, turned off and put away if necessary, but a concealed detector is permanently mounted and usually powered on, risking discovery if the vehicle is pulled over.

    Which radar detectors are undetectable?
    Most radar detectors on the market today can defeat VG-2 radar detector detectors. When it comes to Spectre, however, the list narrows considerably. Since Spectre is the RDD system widely used, it is the one you need to watch for, especially if you commute, live or travel within areas where radar detectors are resticted or illegal. Fortunately we have a list of radar detectors that are undetectable. Questions? Leave a comment below, enter our chat at Buy Radar Detectors or give us a call at 1-800-584-1445 weekdays.

  • The Uniden R7 is here!

    Uniden R7 Radar and Laser DetectorWhen Uniden first announced the production of the R7 radar and laser detector, it was met with much enthusiasm. It quickly became one of the most talked about and highly anticipated new radar detectors of 2019. Well, the time has come. The wait is over. The Uniden R7 radar detector has arrived, and is now available at Buy Radar Detectors!

    The Uniden R7 is an extreme long range radar and laser detector with a 50% faster processor, uniquely designed body and a diagonal, impressive OLED display with an easy, colorful view. This isn't just another detector, it's a state-of-the-art device equipped with the latest technology to provide a powerful countermeasure to speed enforcement.

    Here are a few of its key features:

    • Directional Arrows
    • 360° Laser Detection
    • Large, Ultra Bright OLED Display
    • Digital Signal Processor
    • GPS for Red Light Camera
    • Voice Alert
    • Advanced K/Ka Filter
    • Mute Memory
    • Spectre Elite (RDD) Undetectable

    This new detector is currently in high demand and short supply. We have a limited quantity in stock, so if you have an R7 on your radar, you may want to buy it now.

  • Which radar detectors are undetectable by police in 2019?

    Radar detectors are designed to hear and identify frequencies emitted from police radar guns. They also emit frequencies of their own, and can be detected by radar detector detectors (RDD). All radar detectors emit "stray" RF signals, but some are built with shielding to reduce or practically eliminate leakage. These are the radar detectors you want to use if detectability is a concern. The question is, which radar detectors are undetectable by police radar detector detectors?

    It's a valid question, because it can be a little confusing. There are different RDD devices in use with varying degrees of sensitivity. One type of RDD is VG-2. It is no longer widely used and can be defeated somewhat easily by many of the detectors available today. Another type of RDD is Spectre. The latest version, known as Spectre Elite, is rather effective at detecting radar detectors, and from a relatively short distance away.

    There are a number of radar detectors available on the market with various levels of undetectability. Some are undetectable from VG-2, Spectre, or both within a reasonable distance. A few are considered stealth, which means they are almost completely undetectable, depending on the position of the detector and the police RDD around it. A very few are considered fully stealth, meaning the detector is undetectable at almost any distance from any position or direction at all.

    The chart below lists radar detectors currently available from Buy Radar Detectors in 2019 for use in situations where RDD undetectability or stealth is desired.

    Stealth and Undetectable Radar Detectors
    Brand Model VG-2 Spectre Undetectability
    Cobra
    SPX 5300 ★★★
    Escort Redline EX ★★★★★
    Radenso SP ★★★
    XP ★★★★
    Pro M ★★★★
    Uniden DFR1 ★★★
    R1 ★★★★
    R3 ★★★★
    R7 ★★★★
  • The Uniden R7 is now available for pre-order!

    Uniden R7 Radar DetectorThe Uniden R7 is one of the most highly anticipated new radar detector products of the year, and detector enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting its arrival. At this time the estimated ship date is late March to early April 2019, but there's no need to wait in line to get yours. That's because the Uniden R7 is now available for pre-order direct from our site at Buy Radar Detectors!

    If you haven't heard of the R7, check it out. It's similar in features and function to a Uniden R3, but with the addition of an OLED display with directional arrows. It is equipped with GPS, Eagle Eye for 360° laser detection, 5 Level Signal Strength Meter, MAX Speed Warning System and upgradeable firmware. It's also Spectre Elite undetectable.

    One reason for the attention to the R7 is its directional arrows. It's somewhat reminiscent of the Valentine One, which seems to be a popular feature among Valentine fans. According to a recent poll on a popular radar detector forum, over 35% of respondents said they would switch their V1 for a Uniden R7 after it arrives. That is a significant number, and says a lot about the anticipation level for this new detector.

    Whether it's about the arrows or not, there is certainly plenty of excitement in the air for the new Uniden R7, and no doubt there will be a rush to buy one as soon as it arrives to market.

    So why wait? Pre-order yours now to avoid the initial sellout. We will have a limited supply available on the first shipment, so secure your order today!

  • State License Plate Laws

    License Plate CoverLicense plate frames can be a fun and creative way to decorate or customize your vehicle and add that personal touch. If you're searching for a solution to those pesky red light and speed cameras, an anti-photo license plate cover could be exactly what you need. However, before you pick out a frame or cover, check the local statutes in your area. There may or may not be some restrictions, depending on the laws in your state.

    It is especially important to be mindful of the laws and regulations in each individual state governing license plates when traveling, as they can vary greatly from one state to the next. A license plate frame or cover allowed in your state may be restricted or even illegal in another. If you commute between two states or plan to take a cross-country trip, what was perfectly legal or permitted in your state could get you into trouble once you cross the state line.

    The chart below lists US laws, statutes and regulations regarding the use of license plate covers, frames and shields by state.

    Note: The information contained in this chart was based on information provided by Cruiser Accessories in 2018 and is made available for general informational purposes only. Please refer to the proper authority in your state for the most current and complete laws and regulations regarding the use of license plate covers and frames.

    License Plate Laws by State
    State Plate Shields Plate Frames Visibility Comments
    Alabama Yes Yes Must be visible
    at all times
    "Alabama" must be clearly visible at top of plate
    Alaska Yes Yes Must be visible at all times
    Arizona Yes Yes Must be clearly
    legible and visible
    "Arizona" must be clearly visible at top of plate
    Arkansas Yes Yes Must be
    clearly legible
    Covers that make the license plate difficult to read
    or reduces its reflective properties
    are prohibited
    California NO Yes Must be
    clearly visible
    Red light/speed camera license plate covers
    are also prohibited
    Colorado Clear only Yes Must be clearly visible Covers that shield or impair the reading
    of a license plate by devices
    are also prohibited
    Connecticut Yes Yes Must be visible Covers cannot obscure or impair visibility
    Delaware Clear only Yes Must be
    clearly readable
    Red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, sprays, etc. are also prohibited
    District of Columbia NO Yes clearly and distinct Identification tags must be clearly legible
    Florida Yes Yes Must be visible
    at all times
    Red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, sprays, etc. are prohibited
    Georgia Clear only Yes Must be plainly visible Red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, sprays, etc. are prohibited
    Hawaii Yes Yes Must be visible
    at all times
    Plates must be unobscured at all times
    Idaho Yes Yes Must be free of foreign materials
    and visible at all times
    Plates must be clearly visible and legible
    Illinois NO Yes Must be clearly visible anti red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, sprays, devices, etc. are prohibited
    Indiana Yes Yes Must be clearly visible Plates must be free of foreign materials
    Iowa Yes Yes Permit full view of numbers and letters Frames must permit full view of all numbers and letters on registration plate
    Kansas NO Yes Must be clearly legible license plate covers, shields, sprays, etc. are prohibited
    Kentucky Yes Yes Must be clearly visible Frames and covers must permit
    full view of all numbers and letters
    on plate
    Louisiana Yes Yes Must be clearly visible Plates must be free of foreign materials
    Maine Yes Yes Must be clearly visible Plates, letters and numbers must be clearly visible at all times
    Maryland NO Yes Must be
    clearly visible
    No tinted, colored, painted, marked, clear or illuminated object designed to distort the characters on a license plate is allowed
    Massachusetts NO Yes Must be
    displayed conspicuously
    license plate covers, shields, etc. are prohibited
    Michigan Yes Yes Must be
    clearly visible
    Plates must be free of foreign materials
    Minnesota NO Yes Must be
    plainly visible
    No clear or colorless material that affects plated visibility or reflectivity is allowed
    Mississippi Yes Yes Must be clearly visible Plates, letters and numbers must not be covered by any object, marking, paint, etc.
    Missouri Yes Yes Must be clearly visible Covers may not impair reflective qualities of plate
    Montana Yes Yes Must be obviously visible "Montana" and border outline of state must be clearly visible
    Nebraska Yes Yes Must be visible All letters, numbers, etc. on plates must be free from grease dust and other blurring matter
    Nevada Yes Yes Readable from 100 ft. Plates must be clearly legible and free from foreign material
    New Hampshire Yes Yes Displayed conspicuously Plates must be clean and not be obscured
    New Jersey Yes Yes Displayed conspicuously sale or use of anti red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, sprays, devices, etc. are prohibited
    New Mexico Yes Yes Clearly visible Plates must be clearly legible and free from foreign material
    New York NO Yes Must be visible sale or use of anti red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, substances, etc. are prohibited
    North Carolina Yes Yes Plainly readable from 100 ft. No clear or colorless material that affects plate visibility or legibility is allowed
    North Dakota Yes Yes Clearly visible Plates must be clearly visible and letters and numbers must not be obscured
    Ohio Yes Yes Clearly visible Plates must be not be covered by any material that obstructs visibility
    Oklahoma NO NO Must be
    clearly visible
    No plate frame, cover or material is allowed
    Oregon NO Yes Plain view
    and easily read
    Any frame or plate holder that alters the plate or makes the numbers, letters or regtistration stickers difficult to read or unreadable is prohibited
    Pennsylvania NO Yes Must be visible
    at all times
    Red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, sprays, etc. are prohibited
    Puerto Rico Yes Yes Clearly visible Plates must be not be covered by any material that obstructs visibility
    Rhode Island Yes Yes Clearly visible Plainly readable from 100 ft.
    South Carolina No Yes Must be visible
    at all times
    No tinted covers allowed
    South Dakota Yes Yes Clearly visible Plates must be clearly visible and letters and numbers must not be obscured
    Tennessee No Yes Clearly visible No tinted covers allowed and plates must be clearly visible with no foreign materials
    Texas Yes Yes No reflective matter or blurring of the plate and plates must be free of foreign material and clearly legible
    Utah Yes Yes Clearly visible Plates must be free of foreign material and clearly visible
    Vermont No Yes Plainly legible No tinted covers allowed and plates must be plainly legible at all times
    Virginia Yes Yes Clearly visible
    and legible
    No colored frame or covers allowed and plates must be clearly visible and legible
    Washington Yes Yes Must be visible
    at all times
    Unlawful to use frames or covers that change, alter or obscure any portion of the plate or make it illegible
    West Virginia Yes Yes Clearly legible Plates must be free of foreign materials and clearly legible
    Wisconsin Yes Yes Clearly legible Plates must be at all times be maintained in a legible condition
    Wyoming Yes Yes Clearly legible Plates must be free of foreign materials and clearly legible

    The information in the chart above is a basic overview and is provided courtesy of Cruiser Accessories. For the full chart, download their State License Plate Laws - 2018.

    Comments, questions? Leave a comment below. If you're shopping for camera defense solutions or license plate frames and need assistance, contact us and we'll be happy to help!

  • Getting the most out of your radar detector

    Five Radar DetectorsYou recently received a ticket and after the initial shock, decided to take action to prevent it from happening ever again. So, you purchased a radar detector. You researched the products thoroughly, shopped around, and after weighing all the features and options, you made your choice, and it was a good one. You know this, because everyone who already had one raved about it relentlessly. This was THE radar detector. The ONE. The open road was finally yours to conquer!

    Then it arrived. Excitedly, you set up your new radar detector, turned it on and took off for a test drive.

    And you got another ticket.

    Angrily, you yanked it off the dashboard, put it back in the box, and called the company so you could send it back, because it didn't work. It didn't prevent the ticket! Why?

    One of the most common misconconceptions about radar and laser detectors is that the mere presence of one in a vehicle guarantees you will get the advertised performance expected of it out of the box, automatically. However, there's more to it than that. A radar detector isn't just a device to detect radar. It's a tool, an instrument designed to perform a specialized function. As with any tool, it requires an operator to understand and to use it.

    A fine brush won't paint a masterpiece. A high-end guitar cannot play itself. (I was going to say piano, but a player piano actually can.) Like any precision tool or instrument, one has to know how to operate it properly. Just like the vehicle you drive, a radar detector must be learned, understood and properly used to get the most out of it.

    If you pass a patrol car or checkpoint of some sort and your detector doesn't go off, it could be due to a number of reasons. Here are some common questions to consider.

    Is the detector powered on?
    Is the detector properly installed or aimed to pick up the threat?
    Is it configured to detect the radar or laser band(s) used in your area?
    Is the detector configured to filter out or ignore those frequencies or that band?
    Is there anything in the way of the detector's sensors or antenna to deflect or block the incoming threat?
    Is the detector set to mute any audible or visual alerts?
    Is there even a radar gun in use?

    As you can see, there is more to using a radar detector than simply slapping it on the windshield or attaching it to the dash. Before blaming the detector, check your operation. Remember, the key to getting the most out of your radar detector starts with an understanding of how it works and learning how to work it.

    What radar detectors do
    A radar detector is designed to detect and alert the driver to a specific range of radio waves or frequencies used for Radio Detection and Ranging, or RADAR. If the detector is also designed to detect laser, it should detect frequencies in the infrared spectrum of pulsed laser light used for Light Detection and Ranging, or LIDAR, as well. Radar and Lidar are both line-of-sight, which means that they must be within the range and view of the detection device in order for the device to detect them. In short, a radar detector must be properly placed or installed in the vehicle to accurately detect radar and laser threats.

    What radar detectors don't do
    A radar detector detects radar, not cops. Police officers don't emit radar. Radar guns do. Unless the LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) has a radar gun hand, it is turned on and it is aimed down the road in your general direction, your radar detector is not going to detect it. Even if the radar gun is on and aimed directly at your vehicle, it will only detect the presence of the radar gun. It certainly won't detect the cop holding it.

    Also, be aware that there are other methods of traffic enforcement that don't utilize radar technology, such as VASCAR. If one or more of those methods are being used in the area through which you are traveling, your radar detector won't detect those, either.

    The types of radar bands
    There are specific radar bands and frequencies used for speed detection and enforcement.

    • X Band (10.525 GHz)
    • Ku Band (13.45 GHz)
    • K Band (24.1 GHz)
    • Ka Narrow Band (33.8-35.5 GHz)
    • Ka Wide Band (33.4-36 GHz)

    X band is an older band, and not used much by law enforcement in most areas. However, is still used occasionally in some rural locations, so it should not be completely ignored.

    K band is actively used by law enforcement, but is also often used by other radar emitting devices as well, such as vehicle assist systems and automatic door openers. This opens the door (pun intended) to false alerts, so some filtering of this band is needed.

    Ka band is popular with law enforcement today and is commonly used to detect speeders. If your detector is not properly set up to detect Ka, you will probably get a ticket if an officer tags you on that band.

    Ku band is used in Europe and is not used in the US. Unless you live in the EU, don't worry about Ku band.

    The difference between radar and laser detection
    Radar and Laser are two different methods used for speed enforcement, and each requires a different method of defense. Knowing the difference between the two can help you more effectively manage the operation of your detector to defend yourself against a speeding ticket.

    Radar signals are very wide, and cover a broad area. Radar is somewhat slow compared to Lidar (laser) and is the most common technology used by police for speed enforcement. It is also used for many other devices on or around roadways, including speed cameras, traffic monitoring systems and automatic door openers, to name a few. In addition, radar is used in vehicles for collision avoidance and driver assist systems. Because of this, the potential for false alerts has increased dramatically in recent years.

    Laser signals are very narrow, with a wavelength of about 900 nanometers (nm). They also travel at the speed of light, so they are extremely fast, allowing an officer to clock a driver in less than a second. This is a real danger to the driver, because it does not allow enough time to react to a laser alert. By the time you get the alert, the officer already tagged your speed. For this reason, radar detectors that also detect laser are often referred to as ticket notifiers. While not as commonly used by law enforcement as radar, its use is increasing. The threat from laser is real, and growing.

    If laser is used in your area of travel, it is advisable to include additional laser defense products in your countermeasure system, such as a laser jammer or Laser Veil.

    Optimizing range
    Some radar detectors have higher sensitivity than others, and can detect radar waves at greater distances. This is known as range. Choosing a detector with greater range can be a definite asset on the road.

    But sensitivity isn't the only factor in determining range, or performance. It also depends on where you mount your detector. The general rule of thumb is to mount it higher for radar detection only and lower for laser. The optimal position is to mount it centered in the vehicle, low to the dash, and close to the windshield, preferably directly to the windshield itself if laws allow. This allows the detector to have a wider field of view to detect both radar and laser threats from the front of the vehicle, where the majority of threats originate.

    Filtering out false alerts
    Great range alone won't do the job. Your detector also needs to determine the difference between a radar signal and a radar threat. As mentioned earlier, there are numerous sources of radar on the road and detecting or ignoring the wrong ones can confuse both you and your detector. It could also get you into trouble quick. This is why your detector should be configured and optimized to discern a false alert from a real one.

    There are many new technologies that utilize radar on the road. They need to be identified, some as real threats, and others to be filtered out. Technologies such as MultaRadar (MRCD and MRCT) are used with traffic and red light cameras and need to be identified. Radar used for collision avoidance systems and traffic assist on newer vehicles need to be filtered out. Many of these systems are fairly new, so older radar detectors do not have the ability to recognize them for what they are. If you have an basic detector or one that is very old, there is a good chance it will either alert you to everything, or not alert you at all. Either way, it won't do the job.

    Newer detectors, such as the Radenso Pro M or the Uniden R3, are designed with advanced filtering for many of these systems built-in, allowing you to adjust and optimize your detection system to filter out the noise and detect the real threats for maximum protection.

    When to be confident
    The time to be confident is when driving in normal traffic, with vehicles all around you. This is an optimal scenario for a radar detector because it would likely go off when a LEO tags a vehicle in front of you, behind you, or in the next lane. That warning should provide ample time to check your speed and avoid a ticket yourself, before the radar gun is aimed at you.

    When to be cautious
    The time to be most cautious is when traffic is light, there aren't cars ahead of you, or you are traveling on a lonely road. With few or no other vehicles around, your vehicle is most likely to be tagged by a LEO. While not completely ineffective, in such cases a radar detector is not going to be much help on its own, especially if a police officer is using an instant-on radar gun or laser gun to tag you. In this scenario, you need to stay alert, watch your speed and ease off the pedal when approaching curves, hills or potential roadside obstructions where a LEO could hide.

    Use common sense
    A radar detector by itself will not prevent you from getting a ticket. As we've said many times, it is only one component of a complete ticket protection system, albeit a very important one. simply pulling a budget bubble pack unit from the shelf and putting it on your dash isn't going to do the job. You need to learn how it works, learn how to work it, and operate both it and your vehicle using a common sense approach for every unique situation on the road. In other words, drive smart. Only then can your radar detector help you avoid a speeding ticket.

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