What Is a Laser Jammer And How Do They Work?
A laser jammer is a device that returns a “no response” or a cosine error when a police LIDAR gun is used to target a vehicle. When the LIDAR gun shows this error, an officer won’t know whether a vehicle is equipped with a laser jammer, or whether they simply didn’t aim correctly at the vehicle. This gives drivers time to adjust their speed before a police officer can take another reading.
Since police need to be stationary and have an unobstructed view of a vehicle in close proximity for LIDAR to work correctly, a targeted driver will likely have time to adjust their speed while they move out of range if an officer receives an error response the first time they fire their LIDAR gun. LIDAR is most often used by motorcycle officers or recognizable cruisers positioned in a way police can most effectively use it on a major road, which limits where and when they can be utilized. In heavy traffic, police LIDAR guns are very effective at narrowly focusing in on a vehicle and instantaneously calculating their speed, distance, and direction.
While often called laser guns, LIDAR actually uses infrared light to calculate how far away an object is, and the amount of time it takes for focused light pulses to bounce off a target and return to the gun can determine speed. All this is happening at the speed of light, so without a car laser jammer in use, it would be very difficult to avoid. LIDAR guns are aimed precisely at the most reflective spot on a vehicle – a license plate, headlight, or a chrome grill – and in order to get an accurate reading, they need to hit their target at the correct angle to refract light.
Laser Shifter vs Laser Jammer
Laser shifters, car laser jammers, and diffusers are all terms that are used interchangeably for the same device. Since the term "laser jammer" sounds negative – and, after all, no lasers are being jammed - the terms "shifter" and "diffuser" are increasingly used to emphasize the helpful nature of these products. Although laser shifters work independently, they only protect drivers against LIDAR, so pairing them with a radar detector is a better way to ensure ultimate driver awareness and protection.
Laser shifters and radar detectors can work in tandem when hardwired, but while laser shifters are mounted on the outside of your vehicle, a radar detector will remain within your vehicle. Professional installation is highly recommended to make sure that the shifters are installed correctly and to determine if the two products need to be hardwired. Truck and car laser jammers, same as radar detectors and dash cams, need to have their firmware updated regularly to recognize new advances in LIDAR police guns.
Laser Jammer Laws – Are Laser Jammers Illegal?
Laser jammers are legal across the majority of the United States but it’s best to check your local laws before installing and using one. ESCORT laser shifters are a passive device, and they also have a “Receive Only” feature, which means they can be on but not return a response to a LIDAR gun.
Be careful not to confuse laser jammers and radar jammers – while one is legal in most states, the latter is certainly not legal anywhere. Radar jammers are illegal across the U.S., primarily because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates the frequencies used in radar guns. Violators can be faced with heavy fines and jail time, even on a first offense!
How to Install a Laser Jammer
Laser jammers should be hardwire-installed and we recommend always having a professional custom installation since it’s crucial that the sensors be placed at exactly the correct angle and position on your vehicle. Depending on your vehicle and preferences, you may need anywhere from 2 to 5 sensors.
For optimal performance, each sensor should be on a flat surface with an unobstructed view at the correct angle to refract light. Although it’s rare for police to fire LIDAR guns at a retreating vehicle, drivers can choose to have laser shifters on both the front and back of their car or truck for ultimate protection.
If you’re an avid DIYer and feel confident that you can install the sensors correctly, then the sensor installation kit includes mounting brackets, bolts, and double-sided tape. It’ll be important to ensure that any cables are secured away from moving parts or heat. Installing two laser shifters at a minimum and placed correctly will ensure a base level of protection.
Who Should Use a Laser Jammer?
Laser jammers for cars and trucks can be used by any driver who is seeking extra protection on the road. Most often this will mean pairing laser shifter sensors with a quality radar detector to receive the most up-to-date information on traffic conditions and ticket threats. By combining the two, drivers can also tap into a large database of alerts for red light cameras, speed cameras, and real-time community alerts – allowing for a more informed and protected driving experience. Advanced laser shifters are a great defense against all laser guns, including variable pulse rate, or VPR guns, although more sensors may be needed to combat these. Keep in mind that police mostly use LIDAR guns in busy cities and along major roads, so drivers that would benefit the most from laser jammers are those frequently traveling in or through urban areas.
For any questions related to laser jammer use or custom installation, or for more information on ESCORT products, feel free to reach out to our customer service team or call 855-339-2811 and our experts will be happy to answer any questions.