The great and continuous advance of new technologies has had, as in other professional fields, a great impact on road safety and on the automotive industry by extension. Any help that avoids risks or problems is well received inside the passenger compartment of a car by drivers. However, life is not a bed of roses.
Among the most common resources when it comes to protecting yourself on the road, from an economic point of view, are radar detectors. About its legality or illegality we will talk next in the next lines of the new AutoUsaPremium post. There is a lot of confusion on the subject and it is convenient to clarify it properly so that, when you hit the road, you do not get a bad surprise.
Radar detectors: everything you need to know
Once we have broken the ice with the introduction, it is time to get down to business and explain, in great detail, whether or not it is legal to use radar detectors in your car. Let’s get rid of doubts that are missing.
1. What is a radar detector?
The first thing to be clear about is what exactly is meant by a radar detector and what characteristics it has. Well, it is a passive electronic device that is used by drivers in order to locate the presence of those elements that monitor speed and know they are there.
In this way, it will be very easy for the user to react in time and avoid the carnage that comes with having to pay a financial fine for speeding on a road. To make everything that has been discussed so far possible, what it does is track the electromagnetic spectrum in which mobile and fixed radars operate, which are responsible for “watching that everything is in order.” They have a compact appearance that, in some cases, requires installation inside the car to maintain, while in others it is not necessary as they are portable. That being said, a radar detector is not the same as a radar detector. Let’s explain what it is.
2. What is a radar warning device?
A radar warning device is another device, which can have a digital or physical appearance, which can also go inside a car with the driver. In its case, its function is to notify the user of the exact location of a fixed or section radar, so that it shows you the geographical point in which you are. In addition, it does not interfere with the work that the kinemometer has to carry out. They can be included in portable GPS, integrated in the navigator carried with the vehicle or in mapping applications for smartphones, such as Google Maps.
3. So are they both legal or not?
Since one interferes with the proper work of the tools used by the authorities to control traffic on the roads and the other does not, it is clear that a radar detector is a device that can be carried in the car during a journey, while a radar detector is not.
And it is that the latter can even notify you that there is a mobile radar carrying out a speed control, which will make you lift your foot off the accelerator and get rid of a good punishment, and in general it will provide you with information that is not appropriate from an official source. After all, in the case of Spain at least, the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) has published all the data and information corresponding to the location of the speed cameras. That said, the driver who wants to anticipate and reduce speed in the face of the physical proximity of these devices can do so without incurring any irregularity.
Even if it is not used, the mere fact of carrying a radar detector in the car is punishable. In the case of the Spanish country, a user faces an economic sanction that can reach 200 euros and the loss of three points on the offender’s driving license, as established by the Traffic Law of March 21, 2022.
4. What radar warning devices are the most recommended?
Social Drive, Waze, Radarbot, Coyote and the aforementioned Google Maps are some of the most reputable radar detectors on the market:
4.1 Social Drive
It is a social network in which users share information related to traffic in real time. Through its application, it is possible to know the speed cameras closest to the driver, the presence or not of controls, warnings about specific circumstances on a road and the same with helicopters.
It has been in operation for almost a decade, it began to gather information on the roads of Asturias and Galicia within Spain, it was extended to the entire national territory and, today, It has several million users who trust its operation to avoid problems and save a lot of money.
What this application does, in addition to warning you where there is a certain speed camera, is showing the user different alternatives when embarking on a road trip. In this à la carte directory of the driver, details that may be of interest are shown, such as the presence of mandatory tolls, the distance involved, the estimated time the journey lasts, dangers found on that road (when the exit option chosen is “leave now”), works on the road and police presence. It can be downloaded on both Android and iPhone
Also available on any smartphone, it has the ability to notify the driver of the presence of any type of radar that can be found: mobile, fixed, in tunnels, section, traffic light cameras, dangerous traffic points, etc. Like Social Drive, it can boast a community of millions of drivers who share information, in this case through voice prompts.
Among the benefits offered to the driver, voice alerts, continuous updating of the speed camera database, coverage in more than 150 countries, real-time notifications, integration with other navigation applications, Bluetooth connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, configuration of warnings and warning parameters, speedometer and DGT cameras.
Coyote offers both an application for mobile devices and a physical product to inform the driver in real time of what is happening on the road, both the presence of any type of radar and various incidents that can occur: accidents, traffic jams, stopped vehicles, road works, events, etc.. The great sense of anticipation that it has allows the driver to be aware of all this with up to 30 kilometers away in that sense. Like most of the above, it is nourished by the opinions and information provided by registered users.
5. Radar jammers, more sophisticated and also illegal
Radar jammers are another tool to avoid the speed control of the road authorities. However, they go further than the two that we have discussed so far. And it is that these devices are equipped with a technology that directly cancels the signals emitted by the radars present on the roads.
Therefore, its use is not legal as it is regulated with the detectors. What is a difference is the classification of the infraction that it entails, so that taking it on board in the car is considered a very serious and implies the loss of up to six points in the circulation permit, as well as an economic sanction of 6,000 euroswhat was formerly called “a million pelas”.
But that’s not all, because the workshop that has installed it also takes a good blow to its economy from the authorities, since it can reach 30,000 euros.
6. The rule of 7 for speed cameras
Although perhaps not too many people know it, radars do not have total accuracy when it comes to registering the speed at which vehicles on the roads are moving, but rather they are calibrated under what is known as the rule of 7. What does it mean? ? To understand it, let’s use the following example.
When a car is going at a speed of less than 100 kilometers per hour, the radar removes 7 km/h from what it has captured and, when that speed threshold is exceeded, this device allows a tolerance point of 7 percent.
Fines for speeding are the most common, or at least that’s what the 2020 data in Spain says, since the DGT claimed that ⅔ of the fines originated from this offence. That being said, it is best to drive safely on the highway and adhere to the posted maximum and minimum speed limits. In this way, no fault will ever be incurred nor good money invested in something useful or pleasant will be lost.