Reader Question: Radar Detectors and Speed Cameras

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply:

Tom asks: Will radar detectors detect speed cameras (in time to avoid a ticket)? Also, would it be possible to use a jammer against the speed cameras?

My reply: Yes, a radar detector will detect a radar signal, whether the signal emanates from a radar gun in a police car or an automated unit (i.e., speed camera enforcement, which is the same thing except for the fact that instead of being aware you just got a ticket, you are made aware of it a few days/weeks later – when you get the piece of payin’ paper in the mail).

Whether you’ll have sufficient time to avoid the ticket is the question- and the same factors apply with automated speed traps just the same as manned speed traps. If you are first line – so to speak – expect to be first “served.” Also, if the system targeting you uses instant-on, you will have less time to react. Accordingly, the smart policy is to avoid being first in line whenever possible. If you keep at least one other car ahead of you, the odds are good you will get both warning and time to react to the warning.

On jammers:  They are hugely illegal; the feds (FCC) consider it an illegal transmitting source and the penalties are severe. My advice is to get a high quality detector such as the V1.

The K40 RLS2 is another good one I can personally vouch for (read more here). It lacks some of the features the V1 has – most notably the ability to detect threats coming from behind – but its sensitivity is excellent and its filtration software does a top-drawer job of  . . .filtering out false alarms.

Hope this was helpful!

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. “My intention is to refuse the mafia for the rest of my life and to never become a burden on anyone except myself”

    Right on, eric. My main comment on the mafia is FTAFTFH.

  2. 8, it has a little plaque with the Will Rogers Memorial on it, but some of the writing is worn off. It’s a US made knife, so it probably goes back a ways. It’s a little 2 blade penknife like guys used to keep in their watch pocket, and has ivory colored scales.

    • Sounds like the knife my dad carried in his front pocket forever.

      I’ve always been a back pocket carrier.

      You’ll probably remember this : My baby won’t give me no back pocket money, ‘fraid I’ll spend it on the girls downtown. Front pocket money, just nickel and dime stuff, oh I wish I was a back pocket money man.

      Wish I could pick and sing it and post it in a comment,dont think anyone could keep from at least smiling. Hadn’t thought about that song in a long time nor Jimmy Newman.

        • Ed,just had a flashback from the 80s oil boom when I worked for an oilfield service company and went for a Saturday night soiree with the wife and good friend and his wife to another country club for the evening and found it was rented for the night by Ringo Drilling, another service company.

          When we were turned down for service by the staff, the owner of Ringo came over and asked us to stay for their company party.

          Guess they could see the sheen on our oilfield muscles and said What The Hell.

          We fell into it like we were part of the company. Ate free steaks and beer all night. It was a rowdy bunch so we fit right in.

          My,how things have changed. I went to plenty bashes in the patch and it was always good natured and fun….unlike the government/insurance mandated non-parties that don’t exist now.

          Don’t know why I thought of that, just remembering when life was real…..and so was music. BTW, no fatties back then.

          • I Longview, back about that time, I was at a party and saw a pickup with a Red Adair Co. decal on the back windscreen and a bumper sticker that read “Oil Patch Trash and Proud of it”. Guess that guy who owned Ringo could spot oil patch trash when he saw ’em. 😉

            The ’80s is when the old times ended as I remember it.

            • That same friend and I were talking a couple years ago. He reminded me neither of us as teenagers realized till we hit the patch out there in the desert a 3 foot mesquite bush eventually seemed to be as much privacy you’d get to take a shit.

              We both got a good laugh.

              When you need a job and that’s the best you can do, and it did pay more than other jobs even if it was because you worked 3 days straight, it was a good chunk of change when the paychecks hit. Then it was finding a day off to spend some….a new pair of steel toes, new work clothes and you were glad the new boots would last awhile. And they wonder why so much stuff disappeared.

              • 8, I never worked the oil patch . Unless I started it when I was under 20, I probably wouldn’t have lasted, probably would have drug up after a day or so.

                Working 7 12s on industrial shutdowns is the worst I ever pulled. 7 12s will grind you down after awhile. The outfits I worked didn’t mind if you drug after a month or so. They’d hire you right back once you rested up. Last job like that I did was in about ’86. I was too old for it once I hit my 40s.

                • Ed, I didn’t work it long in that capacity. 30 year olds look 55. I did return in 74 driving my own truck.

                  Went back to it in 14 driving construction, hauling a bit of everything. It was really tough at first since my thrice broken leg wasn’t healed.

                  It won’t ever be but got to the point I could make the whole motion with my foot allowing me to climb and get down and crawl under one.

                  The last year I drove that old 379 Pete I kept it at the house, did all the maintenance and sent receipts to the home office for reimbursement.

                  Boss would call every now and then and ask what I was doing. He’d only know the checks he’d get from wherever I was working it.

                  It was at least 14 hours a day. Had hell with the DOT asking how I kept up with my hours. I simply lied my àss off and they couldn’t prove otherwise.

                  • Yeah, 8. I remember you suffering through that shit with your broken leg, at least the part of it you told us about here when you had time to log on and post.

                    I think you’re a tougher old bird than I am. When it’s a matter of do or die, it’s surprising what a man can do, ain’t it?

                    I’ve heard that they can chew you up, but they gotta spit you out. I bet they’d break a tooth on your tough old ass, though.

                    • Ed,the wife told me a couple years ago that “You are angry” because I cuss the the whole crooked system.

                      You either had to double down after the wreck or give up. Back to the wall you shove back or get eaten and end up on the dole.

                      I won’t last long like that and you probably won’t either. We’re just not geared that way.

                    • Hi Ed,

                      I hope I live up to Eight’s (and yours and others’) example. As you guys already know, my “coverage” is exercise and eating (mostly) right; I self care when I need to – such as dealing with the chainsaw grazing I did to myself about two years ago. So far, so good. My intention is to refuse the mafia for the rest of my life and to never become a burden on anyone except myself and (if I ever have any again) family, who assume it willingly, out of love rather than obligation and never on account of being forced.

      • 8S, that song was written by one of my very favorite writers, a man named Tom T. Hall, who worked at Newman’s agency back in the 60s.

  3. In my state, red light and speed cameras are illegal (for the time being, will see how long that lasts). However, cross the border into the peoples republic of Illinois, and its a far different story.

    • Maps of photo enforcement can be found for many cities. There are a few for the chicago area. Keep in mind that speed camera laws were specifically written for the city of Chicago only.

      As to detectors alerting to photo enforcement there are some models which check GPS vs. a database of automated enforcement locations. However to keep the database up to date usually requires a subscription.

      I still use the maps online when I am going anywhere I not familiar with or up to date with so I know where they are before I leave home.

    • richb, I was in your area of the woods back in 2013. I had a rental Charger and got it up to 102 on US31 heading toward Kokomo. What a thrill! I was born in the same hospital Steve McQueen was born in.

      • Cool! Just watch out if you do it again sometime. The state police have souped up Mustangs. On that vein, the car chase scene in Bullitt has to be one of the best ever filmed!!

        Car chases in movies seem much more rare then they used to be…….

        • Morning, Rich!

          The Bullitt chase scene remains a high water mark. I think in part because it was real cars – not heavily modified stunt cars – and real people driving (including McQueen himself) them on real streets. I am so tired of CGI generated over-the-top unreality…

          • My favorite car shows are Vanishing Point and Dirty Mary Crazy Larry. Then there’s Cannonball Run. Have them on dvd and watch them several times.

            • Those are good ones, too. What I liked about Gone in 60 Seconds was that it was a indie film, made by the guy who drove the mustang. He owned a junkyard and loved building cars and driving them.

              I read that several of the scenes were shot on open roads, when he didn’t even have any official permission to be out there filming. He was killed driving in a scene in the sequel he was filming.

  4. the (aging now) whistler I have will still be useful against most (Ka Band) what is used around here (northern Illinois)the cops also use laser which the whistler will pick up some of the time.

    • I don’t recall my Whistler have Ka.

      Think I still have it somewhere.

      It became obsolete 10 minutes after my Car and Driver arrived early 1980 when their radar detector test showed the Escort to be worlds ahead of any other except for the Fuzzbuster which worked exactly like the Escort.

      Everybody knew Fuzzbuster was useless so the staff opened the Fuzzbuster and found an Escort inside.

      They never took radar detectors from the man again.

      I tried a Fuzzbuster a couple of east coast runs in 1976. The only thing it seemed to find was that big McDonald’s McMurtry speaks of in Choctaw Bingo.

      • “The only thing it seemed to find was that big McDonald’s McMurtry speaks of in Choctaw Bingo.”

        Ahaha, yeah, that’s near the crossroads where somebody ran that stop sign, and you tried to miss’em but you didn’t quite.

        Hey, 8, I just found something I thought I’d lost: a souvenir pocketknife from the Will Rogers Memorial somethin or other. It probably came from the Cherokee Smokeshop originally. 😉

        • Ed, I still have bottles of Army surplus weapon oil with Teflon in it from next door to the gun shop.

          What is on the knife?


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