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Radar and laser jammers are a speeder's dream, but do t... Radar and laser jammers are a speeder's dream, but do they really work? (Andrew Innerarity, AP)
Ever played the superhero game? It's the one where friends or bar mates discuss the superpower they'd most like to possess. Inevitably, someone picks the ability to become invisible. Marvel Comic Books got it right with The Invisible Woman. Not far behind, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry applied the concept to entire spacecrafts with the Romulan (and later, Klingon) cloaking device.

What if such technology were available to speeders? What if drivers could make their vehicles invisible to police radar and laser? While detestable to some, the concept of speeding with relative impunity is alluring to others, especially in speed traps where some drivers feel they are used for revenue enhancement as opposed to increasing traffic safety.

In theory and practice, radar jamming technologies have existed for decades. In the 1970s you could purchase plans for radar jammers from small-space ads in the back of magazines (the same place where you'd look to order X-Ray Glasses or a fresh supply of Sea Monkeys). As late as 2004, Scorpion Jammer Technology sold a toaster-oven size device that effectively confounded every radar speed-measuring unit on the market (at least when they were properly calibrated).

Radar Jammers

"The old analog X- and K-Band radar units were easy to jam," says radar expert "Radar Roy" Reyer. A retired police officer that holds radar and laser training certifications, Rayer is an acknowledged expert in the Cops vs. Speeders game and the proprietor of RadarDetetector.org. "I guess you could say that I've gone over to The Dark Side," jokes Reyer. According to Reyer, even the newest and most popular Ka-Band of police radar (a digital signal) could be jammed with the right equipment.

The principle of radar jamming is simple once you understand the basic operation of police radar guns. In the most simplistic terms, radar guns emit bursts of electromagnetic radiation at a set frequency. The signals bounce off of a target vehicle, returning to the gun. The computer in the gun measures the differential between the reflected waves to calculate vehicle speed.

Jamming a radar gun requires transmitting a signal that overpowers the one fired by the police officer. Jammers are often triggered into action by radar detectors.

Your mother may have told you, "Just because you can doesn't mean you should." You'd be right to heed her warning in this situation.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates the frequencies used by radar guns. It is a federal offence to broadcast using an unlicensed device on all police radar frequencies. The penalty can be $50,000 and/or five years in prison. Do you really think the FCC will approve a license to a radar jammer? Not likely.

Additionally, the FCC -- using their ability to regulate marketing -- has made it illegal to even advertise radar jammers.

One company, Rocky Mountain Radar, continues to sell radar "scramblers." These devices don't technically "transmit" anything, so from the company's point of view, this side-skirts the federal law. The units rely on passively reflected signals enhanced with some electronic "white noise."

Radar Roy and other individuals who regularly test radar equipment claim that these scramblers are useless. According to a report by Speed Measurement Labs, passive scramblers are only effective at extremely close range and so don't work in real-world scenarios. In other words, don't waste your money. "You might as well have an empty plastic box on your dash," quipped Reyer.

Laser Jammers

Laser speed measuring units work on the same principle as radar guns, only the waves being transmitted are bursts of ultraviolet (invisible) light. "The FCC doesn't regulate the light spectrum. That's done by the Food and Drug Administration," explained Reyer. Laser type devices found their way into the marketplace through the medical community, hence the FDA's oversight responsibilities.

Laser guns focus a narrow beam of light down the road. The beam is so narrow that it can only target one vehicle at a time. Like a radar gun, the laser gun waits to receive a light reflection off of its target.

The operational goal of the laser jammer is to overwhelm the reflected light, causing the laser gun to register a faulty speed measurement or no measurement at all. "Imagine you're shining a 20-watt flashlight at my car and hoping to catch a reflection off my license plate," said Reyer, "but instead of the reflection, I shine a 500-watt light back at you. You'll be blinded. That's the principle of the laser jammers and scramblers."

Laser jammers and scramblers -- essentially one in the same -- are triggered into action by a laser detector (either built-in to the jammer or a stand-alone unit that's hard-wired to the jammer). Once activated, the jammer illuminates small banks of light emitting diodes (LEDs) or laser diodes. When these come on, "It's like the officer has aimed his laser gun at the sun; it can't see anything," said Reyer. In other words, a high-quality laser scrambler such as the Shifter ZR4 by Escort actually works.

While radar jammers are illegal in all 50 states due to federal law, laser jammers/scramblers are regulated by states. Currently, these devices are legal in all states except California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington D.C.

AOL Autos did research the relevant federal laws pertaining to laser jammers. The regulatory focus is on light strength, whether the UV light is strong enough to cause damage to the eyes. Manufacturers of laser scramblers sold in the US produce devices that meet FDA regulations. This is important because current laser guns must be aimed directly at individual vehicles to function. Officers do the aiming, and would obviously be susceptible to eye damage from looking toward bright LEDs or laser diodes aimed back at them.

Stealth Running

Unfortunately for speeders, the ability to have complete invisibility to police radar and laser doesn't exist.

Experts including Radar Roy recommend additional products that can help delay vehicle detection by police radar and laser. The simplest is a black bra used to protect the front of a vehicle from road debris and stone chips. Because it covers much of the vehicle's reflective surface, a black bra dramatically reduces the light reflected back to a laser gun.

Because headlights, fog lights and license plates must remain visible - and are highly reflective - these can be treated with radar/laser absorbing coating. These coatings (Laser Veil is one of the brands in this category) reduce reflectivity, giving a driver more time to react once their detector device signals an alarm.

Currently, limited invisibility is the best that speeders can hope for in the ever-changing game of cat and mouse with vigilant law enforcement. If there is one thing to expect, it's that technology will continue to evolve and these constant shifts in the balance of power will keep things interesting.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Months Ago
      hey , here's an idea, how about just do the speed limit? just a thought , but maybe you could try that , or am I the only one that just does it all legal like....................... it's worth a shot , just sayin'........................
      • 5 Months Ago
      your correct? will that work
      • 5 Months Ago
      Here is what "they" don't want you to know and how you can legally avoid guilty court rullings. DON"T SPEED- but if you do try the following: 1. Typically when a police officer gives you a ticket you are assigned a court date that corresponds to a date "he" is assigned to appear in court . Call the court 11 days before the trial date and ask for a postponment. The clerk has no idea what date the officer has been assigned and will assing you a random date. Very rarely will an officer go out of his way to appear on an unassinged date. 2. Many times you are Clocked by one officer BUT chased and ticketed by another. Only the officer that wrote the ticket will appear so simply ask him was he the one that clocked you. If not case dismissed. 3. Ask the officer who was on the gun for the calibratiuon records of the gun and his certification showing he is trained to use it. Many times they do NOT bring them or the calibration is too old. Again the best way to avoid tickets is NOT TO SPEED. Safe driving.
      • 5 Months Ago
      all you need is a good jewish lawyer
      • 5 Months Ago
      like the people say slow down and smell the roses .
      • 5 Months Ago
      I have one question . What do the police officers that pretty much sit down in their car and are monitoring the cars speed called ? Automated Laser radars ? So advanced that they can actually be driving the opposite direction from you and know your speed ? Why don't they mention this ?
      • 5 Months Ago
      FWIW, If you speed, you should PAY! I would like rdar cameras at every bridge or overpass and at intervals of at least 5 miles and vehicles with codes similar to turnpike passes that could be read by the radar units. As far as people driving in the left lane, if they are driving the speed limit, so be it. The penalty for speeding should be severe enough to cause even the most obnixious person to slow down, for example $1,000 for first offense, $10,000 for the second and one year in confinement and loss of driving priviledges for life on a subsequent violation. Same for people that run yellow or red lights and stop signs.
      • 5 Months Ago
      No wonder this country is in the shape it is in, yeah ,blame your inadequacies on someone or something else.
      • 5 Months Ago
      I drove for a month in Germany at speeds of 120 MPH and people were passing me. Speed does not kill Stupid drivers kill. Germany has a lower accident per 1000 people than the U.S. does
      • 5 Months Ago
      • 5 Months Ago
      the fixed income
      • 5 Months Ago
      "Officer," is a designated corporate term, which from the gitgo, denotes the govern mental con, that strips rights, under the delusion that these corporate toadies of the system, actually, have lawful jurisdiction, to play, highway robbery, while carrying guns in theact of breaking the law. Schizofornia Vehicle code: "Highway vpatrol officers [corporate/revealed contract required, that is not coerced] are, to be regarded as police officers." DMV... "An agency of the government, is not the government, or, a department, thereof." All the issues you can imagine, are null and void, where, scammed by, unconscionable, unrevealed threat, duress, and, coerced contracts ensnare... and, no jurisdiction, exists...
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