July 15, 2024

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Is it illegal to use a radar detector/LiDAR jammer in my car?

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The best advice for people who are always getting in trouble for speeding is NOT to get a radar detector or LIDAR jammer, but to slow down.

  • Radar detectors or LIDAR detectors are designed to register when there might be a radar or laser within proximity
  • Police use radar and/or LIDAR technology to detect speeding drivers
  • It is against the law to use a radar detector across Australia, and fines up to $6500 apply

If you have toyed with the idea of a radar or LIDAR detector for your car, you need to know that you could find yourself in a lot more trouble than if you get caught speeding.

These detectors are designed to warn the driver of a potential speed trap, while other more underbelly applications of the technology are designed to detect and jam the signal of a laser.

Police across Australia use radar and/or LIDAR to detect speeding motorists, and as a result, it is not legal in ANY state or territory of Australia to use a radar detector on the road.

In some states it is also illegal to own that type of device, meaning potentially double-trouble for someone who is caught in possession of a radar detector, especially if they’re using it while driving.

For a rundown on the rules, let’s look at the legislation in each Australian jurisdiction.

Queensland Road Transport Operations states that: “A person must not drive a vehicle if the vehicle has in or on it: (a) a device for preventing the effective use of a speed measuring device; or (b) a device for detecting the use of a speed measuring device.

Note as well that you can be penalised even if the device is not operating, or in working order. An on-the-spot penalty of $400 may be imposed, or the maximum court-imposed penalty is 40 penalty units, or $5750.

In New South Wales, the rules state that it is illegal to own or use a “prohibited speed measuring evasion article”, which could run up a $2200 court-imposed penalty. NSW Police have posted on social media that drivers have also copped up to nine demerit points for use of radar detector technology.

Victoria has outlawed speed measuring devices, too. It is an “offense to sell, use or possess anti-speed measuring devices”.

Is it illegal to use a radar detector/LiDAR jammer in my car?

“A person must not own, sell, use or possess a device the sole or principal purpose of which is:

(a) to prevent the effective use of a prescribed road safety camera or a prescribed
speed detector; or
(b) to detect when a prescribed speed detector is being used.”

Those found guilty of the offense could face a court-imposed 20-penalty-unit fine ($3846). In that state, in the three years to 30 June 2021, there were 57 charges under the law, of which 67% resulted in a fine.

South Australia’s Road Traffic Act 1961 – Sect 53B states that it is illegal to sell or use a radar detector or jammer. The SA Road Users Handbook states: “It is an offence to drive a vehicle if the vehicle, or trailer being towed by the vehicle, has a device for preventing the effective use of a speed measuring device, or a device for detecting the use of a speed measuring device.” So don’t go thinking you can hide one in your caravan, then.

The fine applicable for “drive vehicle with radar detector or similar device in or on vehicle or trailer” is $570 (including a $94 victims of crime levy payment), while an additional fine for “possess radar detector or similar device while travelling in or on vehicle or trailer” may also apply, also at $570.

Is it illegal to use a radar detector/LiDAR jammer in my car?

Western Australia was the last jurisdiction to outlaw the use of radar detectors. From 12 October 2021, drivers caught with radar detectors fitted to/within or on their vehicle, whether they were operational or not, would face a $1200 fine and seven demerits, and heavy vehicle operators would cop a $1500 fine and incur seven demerit points.

In Tasmania, there is a decent sized fine under the offence “drive vehicle or tow trailer having radar detector (or similar) or with a device for preventing effective use of speed measuring device”. If you’re caught, you’ll be in for a $1040 fine.

In our nation’s capital, the ACT, the “sale, purchase or use of radar detectors and jammers” is illegal under the Motor Traffic Act section 164G.

“A person shall not use, sell or offer for sale, or purchase, a radar detecting device or a radar jamming device. A person shall not drive a motor vehicle, or cause a motor vehicle to stand, on a public street or in a public place if the vehicle is fitted with or is carrying a radar detecting device or a radar jamming device. The owner of a motor vehicle which is driven or stands on a public street or in a public place in contravention of subsection (2) is guilty of an offence.”
Should you be found to have committed this offence, you could face a fine of $3200.

The Northern Territory follows other jurisdictions in that it is illegal to possess a “radar detector or similar device” whether it is operational, in working order, both, or neither.

“A person must not drive a vehicle if the vehicle, or a trailer being towed by the vehicle, has in or on it: (a) a device for preventing the effective use of a speed measuring device; or (b) a device for detecting the use of a speed measuring device.”

The maximum penalty is 40 units, which works out to $6480. Ouch!

Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant roads authority in your state or territory.


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