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¿Son legales los detectores de radar en el estado de Washington?

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¿Son legales los detectores de radar en el estado de Washington?

Los detectores de radar son dispositivos electrónicos que utilizan los conductores para determinar si las fuerzas del orden controlan su velocidad mediante el uso de una pistola de radar. La idea detrás del dispositivo es que una vez que un conductor sabe que está siendo escaneado por radar, puede ajustar su velocidad rápidamente para evitar una multa. Funcionan de forma pasiva, simplemente captando el radar y no requieren ningún tipo de monitorización activa. Los detectores de radar se venden en línea y en muchas tiendas, y millones de estadounidenses los utilizan todos los días. Sin embargo, ¿son legales en el estado de Washington?

Short answer – yes. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), radar detectors are permitted in passenger/private vehicles, but prohibited for use by commercial vehicles within the state of Washington.

To better understand why radar detectors are legal in Washington, as well as whether they are legal in other states, you have to go to the source — the Communications Act of 1934.  The act helped organize federal regulations of telephones, telegraphs, and radio communications. As a federal regulation, it also set a baseline set of instructions for using these technologies that applied to all states. Additionally, it created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to oversee these industries, but also provided states the freedom to be stricter in their management of them. This act has been occasionally updated to include new communication technologies, such as different forms of broadcasts, cable, and satellite television.


As time passed and technology changed, the act was modified. It has established that radar detectors are generally legal in private vehicles — with some exceptions of course. One large exception applies to commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds, which makes radar detectors illegal everywhere under the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) regulation. Any driver found operating a radar detector in a commercial vehicle is subject to ticketing and/or license suspensions.

Además, debido a este acto, es contra la ley que las fuerzas del orden se apoderen o destruyan su dispositivo sin arrestarlo por otro delito. Después de todo, es su propiedad personal.

Sin embargo, aunque hemos establecido que generalmente es legal tener un detector de radar, no siempre es legal usarlo. Ciertos estados como Virginia y Washington DC incluso han llegado a aprobar leyes que prohíben especialmente su uso. Aquellos que sean atrapados operando un detector de radar están sujetos a multas. También es generalmente ilegal usar un detector de radar mientras se encuentra en una instalación militar. La mayoría de las instalaciones militares le pedirán al conductor que retire el dispositivo y lo mantenga fuera de la vista mientras está en la base.

Some states also have rules about the legality of where the radar detector is mounted. California and Minnesota, for example, have laws against attaching anything to the windshield that could impair the driver’s vision, including radar detectors. Other states have similar rules, but may not be as strictly enforced. It is generally recommended that if you are crossing state lines, to keep the radar detector off the windshield and instead mounted on the sun visor or dash.

One key distinction to note is that while radar detectors are generally legal, radar jammers are illegal under federal law. Radar jammers are unique in that they don’t just detect the use of a radar detector, but they also overpower the radar detector fired by law enforcement. Those found using a radar jammer could face felony charges, large fines, and even jail time.

Similar to RADAR, is a technology called “LIDAR” which is increasingly being adopted by law enforcement to measure the speed of vehicles. To alert drivers when this new technology is being used, LIDAR detectors and laser jammers are now on the market. LIDAR detectors are not usually as effective as radar detectors, because the emissions they look for are less frequent, more focused, and more difficult to scatter than radar. All of these reasons give drivers less time to react if their LIDAR detector alerts them of a LIDAR device, or may never even detect the beam of the laser if it is pointed at a part of a vehicle where the sensor cannot detect it.

Because they are not as easily detected, the more effective method is to jam them. However, unlike radar jammers, laser jammers are currently in a grey area with the FCC. Several states have already made them illegal — specifically California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Para aquellos conductores que residen en el estado de Washington, pueden poseer y operar su detector de radar sin temor en su vehículo personal / privado. Sin embargo, al cruzar las fronteras estatales, tenga cuidado con su ubicación y la legalidad de uso de acuerdo con el estado específico.

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