Laser jammers are designed to prevent a police officer from acquiring your speed when he’s targeting you with his laser gun. It gives you time to quickly slow down as needed, disable your jammers, and let him get a reading off of your car doing the speed limit. Are laser jammers illegal or are they legal? What are the laws regarding laser jammers? Well, things actually vary depending on what state you’re driving in, so let’s go over some of the details regarding laser jammer legalities.
Laser Jammer Regulation in the US
Here in the US, with the exception of several states (which I’ll cover in just a sec), laser jammers are actually legal in most of the country. You see, laser jamming is actually different than radar jamming, which is extremely illegal with stiff penalties. Radar and laser are regulated by two different federal agencies. The FCC governs radar usage since it has to do with radio waves, but the FDA (believe it or not) regulates laser usage and they’re concerned about health issues so the main limitations with laser products are ensuring that they’re eye safe and not going to hurt anyone when a police officer aims a laser at oncoming traffic or a laser jammer fires back.
However, several states do have their own laws specifically prohibiting laser jammer usage.
States Where Laser Jammers are Illegal
Laser jammers are banned in several states around the US, as well as Washington D.C. Here is the list of where laser jammers are illegal in the US:
- Nebraska (questionable)
- South Carolina
- Washington D.C.
Running Laser Jammers in Banned Areas
People always ask about running laser jammers, particularly in areas where they are illegal, and there are actually lots of people who run jammers in banned areas without issue. Now I certainly don’t advocate breaking the law of course, but I do advocate understanding how things work so that you can make an educated decision. Here’s the story of how this works.
People sometimes worry and say that laser jammers are illegal, but the fact is that speeding is illegal too, plus the penalties for speeding are far worse than the penalties for having jammers. In fact, if you use your jammers properly, police officers won’t even know that you have laser jammers and so you’ll be able to use them without issue.
In states where laser jammers are illegal, it’s generally just an equipment violation with no points and nothing on your record. It’s similar to having windows that are tinted too dark or not running a front plate in a state where you’re supposed to. For example, in Utah it’s a $110 infraction.
With speeding tickets, tickets can easily be hundreds of dollars, not to mention you’ll also get points on your license and increases to your insurance premiums.
Laser jammers are typically also sold as parking sensors only and have to have the laser jammer functionality specifically enabled. If you ever have an issue, you can always return your jammers back to parking jammer only functionality when you’re in a banned area and your jammers will no longer jam or even detect police lidar and you’re just fine.
Proper Laser Jammer Usage (JTK)
Whether laser jammers are legal in your area or not, it’s important to know how to use your jammers. The proper technique is when your jammers start going off and the alarms and lights start going off in your car, you quickly slow down to the speed limit, and disable your jammers. You jam the officer until you kill your jammers, a technique known as “Jam to Kill” or “JTK.” Your goal is to do this within 2-3 seconds.
It’s not uncommon for a laser gun to take a little longer to get a speed reading sometimes, whether it’s due to handshake from a police officer and the lidar gun not getting a consistent reading, a lower profile sports car that’s harder to get a reading off of, a smaller vehicle at a distance, and so on, so an extra 2-3 seconds isn’t generally a big deal.
You never ever want to jam the officer indefinitely, what we call “Jam to Gun” or “JTG.” This makes it very obvious that you’re running a jammer and is an easy way for a police officer to know you’re running jammers. That’s just asking for trouble and people that I know who’ve gotten in trouble for running jammers, it’s because they JTG’ed the officer and didn’t JTK.
Killing your jammers is important even if jammers are legal. After all, you do want them to stay legal, right? There was a guy in Texas who’d go around intentionally jamming police officers and posting the videos on YouTube. He pissed off the police who then turned around and pushed through legislation to make jammers illegal in Texas. Whether jammers are legal in your area or not, it’s important to use your tools responsibly.
Now laser jammers can be killed manually or can be set to automatically disable after a few seconds. I recommend using both techniques. I manually slow and kill my jammers when needed and it typically takes only about 2 seconds. In case someone else is driving my car and has no idea what the sirens mean or I happen to be drinking a cup of coffee when I get shot and can’t quickly reach the kill switch, the autokill is a great backup solution.
Practicing is important too. Usually when people get shot the first time, they freak out, have no idea what’s going on, and go a little deer in the headlights. It’s important to practice the procedure of slowing down, checking your RVM to make sure you don’t get rear ended, looking at your speedometer, moving your hand to the kill switch, and pressing the button… and getting that all into your muscle memory so you can do it without thinking. I’ll sometimes do it on drives when there’s no one behind me and it’s safe for me to brake hard as needed. A little practice goes a long way when it comes time to getting shot.
Best Laser Jammers to Buy
If you’re looking for a set of laser jammers and are wondering which ones to buy, I recently published an article covering the best laser jammers on the market.
The best laser jammer today is the AntiLaser Priority.
Alternatives to Laser Jammers
People sometimes ask about alternatives or additions to laser jammers, either because laser jammers are illegal in their area or because they want to add additional laser or protection to supplement their jammers. Let’s take a look at a few of the popular options.
Veil is a special laser absorbing paint that’s designed to be painted onto the areas of your car that police will target including your headlights, grill, and license plate area. The idea is it absorbs lidar, making it more difficult for the laser gun to acquire a reading, giving you a few seconds to slow down once your radar detector is alerting you to laser (assuming it goes off… often times it won’t).
Unfortunately the product is ineffective. Modern lidar guns have no problem acquiring a speed against a moving vehicle so absorbing a little bit of the laser gun’s light isn’t enough to prevent it from getting a reading. It’s also only designed to be applied to headlights, your grill, and plate, but a lidar gun can and will get a reading off of the rest of your vehicle as well including the bumper and other painted areas where Veil can’t be applied, so
Veil also has a history of cracking and damaging people’s headlights, it’s extremely dark and obvious when painted onto your vehicle.
Perhaps the biggest issue though is that it simply doesn’t work. To see for yourself, please take a look at the following tests:
If Veil looked okay when it was applied and if it performed as advertised, I could see it being a valuable tool and a supplement or even replacement to laser jammers. The more layers of protection the better, you know? However, it’s a product I don’t recommend. Veil has earned a very poor reputation within the community, and for good reason.
License Plate Covers
They also sell these license plate covers that are designed to cover your license plate and absorb and diffuse the lidar beam coming out of the lidar gun, theoretically giving you additional time to react.
I’ve had a chance to test these before in meetups when people have bought them because they’re cheap and an additional layer of protection and unfortunately even my older ProLaser III has no issue getting an immediate speed reading when aimed at a licence plate covered in one of these plate covers. This is true both at close range when the beam is tightly focused on just the plate as well as farther away when the lidar beam diverges and spreads beyond the plate to the bumper area as well.
You also run into potential issues running a plate cover, but in terms of laser protection, I haven’t found it to be beneficial and so I don’t run one myself.
Probably the best thing you can add to your laser jammers is Waze. It’s a free navigation app where people are free to report where police are located on the side of the road. One of the nice things about laser is that, unlike radar, an officer has to be stationary to use laser. They can’t drive and shoot laser at the same time. Because of this, they’ll set up on the side of the road or on a bridge somewhere and sit and shoot cars until they find their next victim. While they’re shooting, people will mark them on Waze and you’ll get the alert on your phone as you approach. Similarly, you can mark them on the map and other drivers will benefit from your alerts as well.
Waze is an excellent addition to laser jammers. It’s not a replacement for them, but it is an effective additional layer or protection to add to your countermeasure kit (radar detector, laser jammer, & waze).
To learn more about laser jammers, see my Reviews of the Best Laser Jammers.
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