THE NEW GENERATION OF RADAR AND LASER DETECTORS GOES ON OFFENSE
BY MATT SCANLON
I haven’t used a radar detector in my car since 2003. My faithful Escort unit got me out of a few jams, but it shorted out after getting into a fight with a Snapple, and I’ve allowed the intervening years to take their toll on my wallet in the form of a pair of tickets in Vermont and another in New York to the tune of four points, the better part of $800, and some choice words from my better half. Because, I thought for all that time, ‘What progress could possibly have been made in the detector marketplace? Was it worth buying new again?’ Radar, I thought, was a static technology, and so were its detection parameters.
As in so, so many other realms of life, I was mistaken there.
“Oh no, no everything’s changed,” laughed Joe Chabuel, owner of Extreme Motorsports (EMS) in Paramus. His 22 year old company has evolved from a one bay stereo installation shop into a sprawling complex that installs backup and dash cameras, puddle lights, motorized plates, rims, and a variety of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and aftermarket accessories…including a range of police radar/laser detection systems. “Both the radar detector and laser defuser technology is hugely better, plus these systems offer GPS capabilities so you can mark areas where police are regularly targeting vehicles as well as mark false warning sources like automatic door openers. It’s a new world.”
In place of my old Velcro mounted dash model, Chabuel mentioned the K40 Electronics RL360i and Laser Defuser system, which features front and rear radar receivers and laser transponders discreetly installed into a vehicle’s front and rear bumpers. These components communicate police targeting to the driver via LEDs integrated into the instrument cluster. One of the K40 system’s key advantages over portable models is its ability to detect police LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) guns and then send a signal back to the gun to confuse (or “defuse,” as industry folks term) it from getting a lock on speed. Integrating such a radar/laser system into a vehicle requires professional installation, however a skill EMS has perfected over many years. The company also offers a variety of portable radar/laser detection units from K40 Electronics and other companies. These units scan for X band (usually used in New Jersey), K band, and super wide Ka band, while also providing laser warning and off axis protection (from beams emitted at an angle to a car, which often happens when an officer is parked in a median).
In New Jersey and New York, there are no restrictions to owning and using a radar detection and laser defuser system. Radar jamming, on the other hand, is illegal in all 50 states and commonwealths, so these types of products are not offered by EMS, and Chabuel added, have not been proven to work effectively in any case.
When asked whether there is a typical customer for this kind of police warning system imagining a hair on fire Porsche 911 or Mercedes AMG GT owner aching to explore the sound barrier Chabuel laughed and replied, “Sure, we get our share of what I call ‘performance enthusiasts.’ But really, these systems are useful for a wide range of vehicles, including pickup trucks and SUVs, and for a variety of reasons. Say you have tinted windows or are texting while stopped in a traffic jam. These systems simply keep you informed as to where the police are, which is always handy.”
171 Route 4 West, Paramus NJ