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Do laser jammers work?

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 cross hairs, your radar detector will probably only be able to warn you when it's too late.

Best midrange radar detector

Escort Passport 8500 X50
Escort Passport 8500 X50

Although it is illegal to attempt to jam radar guns, it's still perfectly legal to jam lasers in most states. That said, 10 states have banned laser jammers: California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia. Some sources include Nebraska and Washington, D.C., but a search of their legal codes found only radar jammer laws -- no reference to laser jammers. 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 from $450 to $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 skilled do-it-yourselfer. 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, LaserJammerTests.com, RadarTest.com and RadarDetector.org have all tested 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 $900, and a high-power version with two laser diodes per transceiver costs $1,100 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 later reached a confidential settlement in that case. In 2010, 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. The following year, Reyer retracted those statements. His positive reviews of the Laser Interceptor are now posted on the company's website.

The Laser Interceptor also makes LaserJammerTests.com's "approved" list, but lately some users complain that Canadian police have started using DragonCam photo laser guns that the Laser Interceptor can't jam, and they've gotten unexpected tickets in the mail.

The other testing organization, RadarTest.com, has not tested the Laser Interceptor. RadarTest.com's latest laser jammer test pits the four-transceiver Blinder M47 (Est. $750) against the three-transceiver Escort ZR4 (Est. $450) . 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.

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 laser guns that they couldn't before, or to jam them longer. Laser Veil needs to be reapplied every six months.

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RMR RMR-INTERCEPTOR CORDLESS MOTORCYCLE RADAR/LASER DETECTOR
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Escort RedLine Radar Detector
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Escort Passport Max
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