Laser guns present the biggest obstacle to speeders. Because their light beams are so narrow, radar/laser detectors can rarely detect them soon enough to give you time to slow down. If a laser-gun operator has you in his crosshairs, your radar detector will probably only be able to warn you when it's too late.
Although it is illegal in every state to attempt to jam radar guns, it's still perfectly legal to jam lasers in most. Nine states have banned laser jammers: California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. Some sources include Nebraska and Washington, D.C., but a search of their legal codes found no laser jammer laws. Even where laser jammers are legal, police may take a dim view: "If you are stopped by law enforcement and they know you have a laser countermeasure, expect a ticket instead of a warning," says SpeedZones.com, where police officers participate in the laser jammer tests.
Several products on the market really can jam police lasers, tests show. These are active jammers, which emit an infrared beam at the right frequency, so that laser guns are confused and unable to get a lock on your vehicle's speed.
Laser jammers are expensive, costing anywhere between $425 and $2,100. All come with at least one transceiver unit, but the better models have two to four transceivers: two for the front of your car and one or two for the rear. Reviews say two transceivers are probably all you need for an ordinary passenger car or truck; a very large vehicle (like a commercial truck) may need three or four transceivers. The transceivers are all connected to a control box inside your car. Laser jammers require professional installation or a very handy novice. Laser jammers don't double as radar detectors, although some can be integrated with a separately purchased radar detector. Laser jammers are also fairly discreet; their components remain mostly hidden to traffic enforcement as well as to thieves.
GuysOfLidar.com, RadarTest.com and Speed Measurement Laboratories all test laser jammers. By far, the most effective jamming system in GuysOfLidar.com's 2008 test was the Laser Interceptor (*Est. $600 to $2,100) , which comes with two transceivers. The same model with four transceivers costs $1,100, and a high-power version with two laser diodes per transceiver costs $1,200 for two transceivers or $2,100 for four. The Croatian company sells its products to U.S. customers on its website, Laser-InterceptorUSA.com.
In August 2009, Blinder International (a Denmark laser-jammer company) filed a federal lawsuit against Laser Interceptor USA and its distributor Clifford M. Crane, accusing them of patent infringement. Blinder says it recently reached a confidential settlement in that case. Last year, Roy Reyer of RadarBusters.com raised additional questions about the Laser Interceptor, saying it hadn't been approved by the FDA (which regulates lasers) and might cause "irreversible eye damage" -- even as he declared it the best laser jammer, based on his own testing of the Laser Interceptor side-by-side with the Blinder M47 (*Est. $750) and Escort ZR4 (*Est. $450) laser jammers on his Ford F250 pickup truck. But this year, Reyer retracts those statements.
"Initially there were rumors about the Laser Interceptor's eye safety issues that were being spread by competitors, and to be truthful, even I was initially concerned," Reyer says. "However, after reviewing tests from an independent testing company, I found that these rumors were unfounded. So finally, to put this issue to rest, the Laser Interceptor is eye-safe, and I put my name and reputation on the line." Reyer's review is now posted on the Laser Interceptor website.
The other two testing organizations, RadarTest.com and Speed Measurement Laboratories, do not test the Laser Interceptor. RadarTest.com's latest laser jammer test pits the Blinder jammers against the Escort ZR4, a stand-alone laser jammer from the established Escort brand. Tester Craig Peterson finds the Blinder M47 the most effective on big vehicles (thanks to its four transceivers) and the two-transceiver Blinder M27 (*Est. $480) as effective for ordinary passenger vehicles, with "weapons-grade jamming performance against every laser gun."
By contrast, the three-transceiver Escort ZR4 shows "mediocre" performance against some types of laser guns -- but Peterson says these guns aren't commonly used by police, and the ZR4 does fine against the common types. He also finds it easier to install and use than the Blinder, and he likes that you can connect it to an Escort or Beltronics radar detector.
Meanwhile, Speed Measurement Laboratories pits the Blinder M27 against a laser jammer from TPX and the laser jammer add-ons sold with the hard-wired Escort Passport 9500ci (*Est. $1,600) and Beltronics STi-R Plus (*Est. $1,250) radar detectors. The Blinder works best, jamming three laser guns (Stalker LR, Laser Technologies TruCam and Kustom ProLaser III) but not the Laser Ally gun.
Another interesting countermeasure is a product called Laser Veil (*Est. $90) . Laser Veil is a paint-on coating you apply to your license plate and headlights that makes them less reflective. Although earlier attempts at some kind of laser-deflecting paint have been ill received, tests at RadarTest.com, RadarDetector.org and GuysOfLidar.com find that this one really works. Testers say that when they paint their vehicles' headlights with Laser Veil, it improves the performance of their laser jammers, allowing them to jam radar guns that they couldn't before, or to jam them longer. Laser Veil needs to be reapplied every six months.