The answer is YES! Radar detectors are completely legal to use in the UK and evidence taken from a MORI poll between radar detector users and non-radar detector users concluded that people who own them are less likely to have an accident.
Radar Detectors have been designed to help you drive in the confines of today's ever changing speed limits. They are not a license to speed. Always remember that speed limits have been set for the safety of all road users.
However, drivers should have made aware of the speed limit before they commit an offense. Speed traps are often set up where the speed limit is reduced, ie from 60 – 40mph or from a 50 – 30mph zone. Driving in today's congested traffic conditions, concentrating on the traffic around you means that it is easy to drive into a restricted zone without noticing the change in speed limits. Therefore advanced warning through radar detection could have prevented you from driving dangerously (which is in everyone's interests). The Spanish radar radar traffic lights, if they sense you traveling above the speed limit the lights are changed against your favor, this is the best kind of instant incentive to drive within the speed limit, but then it does not raise much cash does it!
Radar detectors are legal in England but the law differs around the world.
The sale, purchase and installation of Snooper or Radarscout products is perfectly legal. The use of one until recently may have contravened the 1949 Wireless and Telegraph Act but a jurisdiction of the Queens Bench Divisional Court dated 29th January 1998 makes it clear that the use of Radar Detectors is not unlawful as has hitherto been claimed by some. In the past a few prosecutions have been brought by claiming the use of radar detectors was contrary to section 5 (b) (i) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 as amended by section 3 of the Post Office Act 1969. However the Acts refer to the interception of wireless communications for the purpose of obtaining information as to the content, sender or addressee of any message. The Court concluded that the radar transmission was not communicating a 'message' and therefore equipment designed to detect the presence of the transmission could not decode any such message.
It was further stated that section 1 (1) of the Act, which requires a license for the reception of radio signals, has been superseded by the Wireless Telegraphy Apparatus (Receivers) (Exemption) Regulations (SI 1989 No123) which exempts radar detectors and similar equipment from the need for such licenses.
This case is reported in The Times on Feb 18, 1998, page 41 under the heading "Radar speed guns do not send message". Unfortunately The Times now charges for access to its archives and we can no longer link to the full story but you can purchase the extract yourself here, it's about the 63rd article down the page. http://www.newsint-archive.co.uk/
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