Radar detectors are a useful addition to your car. They can alert you to speed traps and more. Each state has different laws around the use of radar detectors. What are the rules in Texas?

Radar detectors are legal in Texas, though there are caveats to this allowance. These caveats include the: 

  • Type of vehicle
  • Placement of the detector
  • Type of detector you are allowed to use

Keep reading to learn more about radar detectors and how to safely and legally use them with your vehicle.

Radar Detectors Are Useful No Matter the State

A radar detector is a small device that can fit in the palm of your hand. It is used to detect radar being used near your car. 

The most common uses for radar detectors in cars include:

  • Detects whether a police officer is using a radar gun to clock vehicle speeds nearby. If the detector alerts you to a speed trap, you’ll know to slow down before you get a speeding ticket.
  • Detects construction zones.
  • Detects EMT vehicles. This means you can be aware of someone getting roadside medical assistance in advance, and adjust your driving accordingly.

Now, let’s see how radar detectors work.

How Do Radar Detectors Work?

Radar is emitted in the form of invisible waves. 

When a police officer uses a radar gun, the gun sends out radar waves that bounce off your vehicle as it moves and tells the police officer your speed. A radar detector is designed to pick up on these waves, and notify you of them, as soon as it senses them.

This means that you can be alerted to a speed trap or other radar-emitting objects from a few miles away.

What Restrictions Are There to Using a Radar Detector In Texas?

There are a few important restrictions to using radar detectors in Texas. Keep reading to learn about each one.

Types of Vehicles That Can Use Radar Detectors

Radar detectors are only allowed in private vehicles. 

They are strictly prohibited in commercial vehicles:

  • If you drive an 18-wheeler truck as your job, you are not allowed to have a radar detector in your vehicle. 
  • If you use your car with a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft, you are not allowed to use a radar detector. 

Now, let’s see the next restrictions for using radar detectors.

Placement of Radar Detectors

You are not allowed to place the radar detector anywhere where it could obstruct your view as the driver. 

You can mount the radar detector on your windshield, as long as it does not obstruct your vision. However, it is a safer option to place the radar detector somewhere else, such as on your dashboard. 

It’s less of a risk to you as a driver, and a much lower chance for getting a ticket for driving with an obstructed view.

Types of Radar Detectors and Similar Devices

The most common type of radar detector is the dashboard mount radar detector. It’s the easiest to set up in your car. 

There are also custom-installed radar detectors, that are usually built into the car and hidden from sight. These are more complicated but preferred by some drivers. 

Both dashboard mount radar detectors and custom-installed radar detectors are legal to use in Texas.

In addition to radar detectors, there are also laser jammers and radar jammers. Let’s learn more about them below.

Radar Jammers

Radar and laser jammers are intended to confuse radar guns so they cannot measure the vehicle’s speed.

Radar jammers are illegal in Texas, as well as all other states. They interfere with and block the radar waves and radio frequencies used by police. 

These devices can have serious negative effects on the radar-emitting equipment.

Using Radar Detectors on Military Bases

If you live on a military base or travel to one regularly, keep in mind that you cannot have a radar detector, even in your private vehicle.

No matter which state you are in, it is against Department of Defense regulations to use a radar detector on military bases.

Are Radar Detectors Legal In Every State?

Now that we know the legalities of radar detectors in Texas, is this the same for every state?

Radar detectors are legal in private vehicles in almost every state. They are illegal in Virginia and Washington, DC. 

Some states permit radar detectors in small commercial vehicles. However, if the commercial vehicle weighs over 10,000 pounds (or 5 tons), it is against federal law to have a radar detector in the vehicle.


Radar detectors are useful in keeping drivers more aware of hazards around them on the road. 

If you live in Texas and want one for your personal vehicle, it is an investment worth considering. 

Keep in mind the laws around radar detectors differ for each state, so if you’re planning an interstate road trip, it is best to read up on the laws of the states you’re visiting. Happy driving!