Radar Math

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Good radar detectors aren’t cheap – but it’ll cost you more to not buy one. And not just in terms of the money.

But let’s start with that.

A top-of-the-line radar detector – like my Valentine1 – will cost you about $500, which is a lot of money. But consider how much money a single “ticket” – the government-speak euphemism for the extortion notes issued by armed government workers – costs.

If you are “pulled over” – government-speak for being detained by an armed government worker – for the offense of driving slightly faster than a velocity maximum arbitrarily posted by the government – i.e., you are caught “speeding” – you will typically be forced to pay the government that employes the armed government worker who pulled you over around $150 in immediate costs.

This is for just slightly “speeding” – generally defined as 1-9 MPH faster than whatever the arbitrary number says is “legal.” If you are caught driving faster than that, the cost goes up. In some cases, it could cost you your freedom. There are “reckless driving” statutes on the books in some states that define “reckless” driving as anything faster than 80 MPH, which can be as little as 10 MPH faster than the posted speed limit, in the case of highways with a PSL of 70 MPH.

In which case, it’ll cost you lawyers, too.

But these are not the only costs.

The next cost will likely manifest in the mail – when you get your “adjusted” insurance premium – i.e., the extortion note from the private business that uses the government to force you to hand over money to them, else the private company will sic the government on you. Which government will then issue new extortion demands to punish you for not having paid the extortion demanded by its private sector adjunct, the insurance company.

Most will, of course, pay – because of the threats. So there goes $150 for the “ticket” plus probably another $75 – a sum approximating the typical annual “adjustment” for the “ticket.”

So, $225 – which is about half the cost of a top-shelf radar detector.

This assumes, of course, the “ticket” was for slightly “speeding.” If it was for serious “speeding,” the cost should be adjusted upward. A “reckless driving” ticket could cause a doubling “adjustment” of whatever you’re forced to pay the insurance company. Plus the cost of the ticket, itself.

Now comes the compounded cost.

stand and deliver!

The government only steals once-at-a-time. When you pay the “ticket,” you have paid in full – at least until the next “ticket.”

The insurance company makes you pay serially. That single “ticket” remains “on your record” for several years and is used as the pretext for “adjusting” you for several years. So if the insurance company “adjusts” you for $75 additional this year, plus the next two years, then the total “adjustment” comes to  $375 (the $150 paid to the government plus the $75 “adjustment” paid three times to the government’s adjunct).

We are now two-thirds of the way toward the cost of a top-of-the-line radar detector that might well have warned you about the lurking presence of the armed government worker who “pulled you over” for “speeding.”

What if that happens again – and before the first “ticket” is no longer “on your record”? This generally takes three years. What are the odds you’ll get “pulled over” again during that time? Unless you don’t drive much – or drive mindlessly obedient to every sign erected by government, a thing difficult to actually do because of the plethora of government signs, many of them demanding obedience to preposterous, teeth-grating protocols (e.g., driving 35 MPH on a road where everyone drives 50).

“Speeding” is like breathing. Everyone does it. Especially armed government workers, though of course they do so with impunity.

The rest of us are targets for armed government workers.

Some perhaps more so than others, but everyone drives at least a little faster than some speed limits, some of the time. Which means everyone is vulnerable to getting a “ticket.”

Or, two.

Let’s say you do. There’s another $150. On top of the other $150. Plus another probably more than just $75. For several years.

Those tickets have now cost you more than a top-of-the-line radar detector. The detector would also have saved you the aggravation of those tickets; the time you spent by the side of the road with the armed government worker and – later – in court, attempting to avoid being made to pay the “ticket.” Plus the dread of opening the mailbox, to find another extortion note – the one from the insurance company adjunct of the government.

But these are petty savings relative to pricelessness of being able to somewhat enjoy driving again. To be able to “get away” with “speeding” – that is to say, with reasonable driving – again.

Can you put a number on the value of having your Little Friend chirp in time for you to brake? There is almost as much satisfaction to be gained from avoiding an interaction with an armed (and dangerous) government worker – and a “ticket” – as there is in a prime rib dinner with all the trimmings.

Which, of course, you only pay for once.

As is the case with the radar detector. Which also pays for itself.

Often, several times over.

. . .

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  1. Speaking of math,


    The Harrison Bergeron-ing is picking up momentum. California, Oregon, New York, Washington, all taking the “math (and grammar and spelling and history) is racist” approach to creating a better moron. There are no “correct” answers, as they were all deemed correct by white slave owners, or some such nonsense.

    I no longer worry about the future. Da to+too eqalz feyve, like ya’ gnoze?, crew will run things just fine. SMH

  2. I had one of the very first Escorts. A large black box with a single amber light on the front of it. So heavy the visor would barely stay up. Then I got a Valentine when they first came out. I still have it in fact. It’s been updated once and as soon as they start shipping the V2’s again I’ll have the latest version.

  3. YMMV. After being a licensed driver since 1977, I got my first speeding ticket in 1992 — which was also the first time I used a radar detector.

    A detector doesn’t do a lot of good in Texas, where I received that ticket. It’s illegal for police to run always-on radar there. Under state case law, triggering a radar is a “search”, which requires probably cause that can only be invoked after the officer has visually estimated the driver’s speed, and that estimate must be within a certain percentage of what the radar reading reveals. (I know, everyone is having a good chuckle about what the officer’s testimony in court would be.)

    Still, on a lonely rural highway you’re unlikely to pick up any pings that are within range, and the detector wouldn’t help.

    Since then I’ve only had two others, a month apart in 2002 in a notorious speed trap in Arkansas, where the I-30 off-ramp speed change happens so quickly you have to be standing on the brakes to not get tagged. I doubt a detector would make any difference there, either.

    Say, isn’t that radar detector illegal to use in Virginia? Maybe they won’t assess points against your license, but there’s still a fine.

    • Hi Kevin,

      Radar detectors can’t do much about instant-on radar – if you’re the lead car. But they can save your bacon if you’re behind the lead car. It is a cardinal rule of “speeding” to never be the only car on the road doing it!

      Also: Detectors being illegal in VA has been a godsend for me. The AGWs assume – rightly – that most people are obedient sheep and don’t have them, so the AGWs are sloppy in their use of radar. This is good for non-sheep like me. As far as getting caught: I turn mine off when pork is scented. I keep it low profile, too – such that it can’t be visually seen unless the AGW is right on top of me – and by then, it is off and hidden.

  4. Cops around here have too much money. Radar is probably less common than laser at this point, and laser is hard to detect (though easy to jam, but that’s rather illegal).

  5. The Mobile District in Alabama charges $149 in “court costs” on any ticket, no matter how minor.

    I managed to get a “move over” law ticket dismissed with driving school and a letter to the judge indicating that I would show up in court to talk about the hero’s maskless face leaning into my car last July, as “the cases” spiked in Alabama. However, the fine for the infraction itself was only $100.

    Of course, getting the ticket dismissed prevented me from having a bigger problem with insurance down the road since the hero’s wording on the infraction implied reckless driving past their staged trap, not an actual accident or traffic stop.

  6. In addition to using radar detectors, I think the time has arrived to start a discussion about the possible prophylactic use of attack crows.

    In the event you still see those lights in the mirror, releasing a couple of attack crows as you pull over might keep the AGW confined to his vehicle.

    Imagine the consternation of the AGW when the crows swoop down and pluck away his pen and ticket pad as he stands next to the vehicle.

    Some may even choose to forego the radar detectors. $500 still buys a lot of bird feed.


    Even after transporting crows is declared a crime against the state, they would be very effective in the areas surrounding known speed traps.

    Perhaps the solution to people wearing face diapers outside for COVID is the corvid.


  7. I have yet to be pulled over in this town. I think the AGWs have “better” things to do than pull over some otherwise innocuous looking, apparently upstanding (*snicker*) citizen, even if he’s doing a few MPH over the posted limit. I’m usually FAR less of an “offender” than some on the road, here.
    Then, when I move out to my rural land, it’s mostly dirt roads, and few sheriffs are to be found out there.

    Also, what I’d value much more, would be some way to track cop cars, on a map, in real time. Such technology would be a top seller!

    • “some way to track cop cars, on a map, in real time.”


      Even tell you when there is a broom in the road. Or the location of Bambi when he didn’t quite make it across the road.

  8. Been there, done that… unfortunately the times cops were sitting there with radars on are over. Mostly what you get from your detector nowadays is “beep! You’ve got a ticket!”

    Some 30 years ago I just started to go to court for every ticket* – quite often judges give you a break and you just end up paying the fine for “parking” violation or something like “disobeying traffic device (in PA)” which does not trigger demerit points or insurance rise.

    *Every ticket except when the cop gives me a break, which started happening very often recently… I suspect my going to court might have something to do with it 🙂

  9. For me, the use of a CB(Citizens Band) radio has provided a nice return for my investment buck.Truckers are the best at sharing the latest “20” of a Smokie looking for a customer. Additionally, there is the benefit of real time traffic flow and accident information at my fingertips.

  10. To each his own.

    The genesis of highway patrol, traffic laws, whatnot, has an origin. Has to take place for some reason.

    Goes back to the good old days of revenuers, moonshiners, booze runners, Al Capone, ‘Easy’ Eddie O’Hare, Thomas ‘Two Gun’ Hart, and the beat goes on. One of Al Capone’s lawyers was Eddie O’Hare, his son, Butch, was an ace fighter pilot during WWII, hence O’Hare Airport in Chicago.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Thomas ‘Two Gun’ Hart lived in Nebraska, was a still buster, raided places making booze, alcohol prohibition and all, you know, hey, was also Al Capone’s brother. True story.

    Al Capone was the first American entrepreneur to earn 100 million dollars income in one year. Can’t argue with success. Prohibit anything, instant corruption, more money for the boys. When you are delivering 20,000 gallons of beer each day to speak easy’s in Chicago, crime pays.

    Baseball bats do have persuasive capabilities. lol

    Seagram’s was located in Weyburn, Saskatchewan early in the prohibition years, then to Brandon, Manitoba, later on to Winnipeg, Manitoba, finally ending up in Montreal. After Prohibition, Seagram’s moved to New York City. New York City was a well-established black market for alcohol during Prohibition and the problems were few.

    A Sunday drive in a nice big car along the northern border with Canada meant you were going to be pulled over by the authorities or maybe be stopped by booze runners to relieve you of your nice car to be used for smuggling whiskey from Canada to Chicago. It was an industry, people drink. What else is new?

    Chicago is where it was all happening. The Untouchables became a tv show.

    Radar detector equals counter-surveillance.

    Buy 500 dollars worth of beer, spirits, drive the speed limit, let the other fools live to pay through the nose for something they shouldn’t do. Speeding in traffic is an offense. I dunno.

    Besides, when you drive the speed limit, you can drink and drive. You’re not a road hazard when you drive the PSL. Then again, you are, nobody drives the speed limit.

    If you want to hit 90 in the three mile stretch, buy the radar detector.

  11. Of the very few reasons to be in PA, local revenuers are prohibited from using radar & lidar.

    Somehow, we are not all piled in burning heaps on the side of the roads.

  12. I got my Valentine Gen 2 in February. You can turn the V1 back to them for $100 off the Gen 2. Way less noisy in terms of picking up the Honda next to you giving off k band, and well worth the change from the Gen 1. I sent in the old V1 on a Friday and had the new one by Wednesday of the next week.

  13. ‘The rest of us are targets for armed government workers.’ — EP

    Virginia is currently the only U.S. state where radar detectors are illegal to use. The District of Columbia does not allow radar detectors either.


    Radar detector control is like gun control: a status offense is created in which it’s illegal to even possess the means to defend yourself.

    Gov Coonman and Virginia House of Delegates speaker Eileen Filler-Corn approve this message. Slavery is freedom, comrade. Are YOU in compliance?


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