A weekly column by Police Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley Police Department
Week of August 9, 2020
The question of radar detectors was brought up to me recently. These are devices used to detect transmissions from a radar unit used by police to check the speed of vehicles. The question was, are these devices illegal to use in Massachusetts?
Radar detectors are still legal in Massachusetts. There are some states where their use is prohibited. Other places restrict the placement of these devices, for example, they cannot be mounted on the windshield. Some states ban them for commercial vehicles and federal law prohibits their use in many places, such as military bases. If you have one of these devices, and plan to travel out of state, it is important to check the locations where you will be going. These detectors are not fool proof and may work only when the police “radar gun” is activated. The radar units used by police can be left on or may be operated on demand. In the case of the latter, the radar detector may sound only briefly.
These units could be a distraction for drivers, and they cannot be placed in any area which obstructs the clear view of the road. The rules for locating these devices are the same as GPS Units, cell phone mounts, ornaments, and other objects. They must not be in a location that interferes with the safe operation of a vehicle. Impeded operation falls under MGL Chapter 90 Section 13 and a violation can carries a civil fine.
The most important thing to remember is to watch your speed. If you use a radar detector, do not treat it as an open invitation to violate the law. Drivers are always encouraged to take extra time to travel to their destination, drive at safe speeds, minimize distractions, and exercise caution. The goal is to prevent accidents and injuries.
In addition to the Corona Virus Pandemic, there is a great deal of turmoil taking place in our state and around the country. We continue to serve the people of Dudley and work with the community to improve the quality of life for everyone. With so much discussion around police reform taking place, there are several documents posted on our Facebook page which can serve as a source of information for people. I continue to thank the men and women from my department for their continued dedicated service to the Town of Dudley during these trying times. Thanks also go out to the many Police Officers, Fire and Emergency Services members, public works, government and all other “essential” personnel for their continued hard work and service. We greatly appreciate the support we receive from our community.
Thanks again for your questions and comments. Please send them to me at the Dudley Police Department 71 West Main St., Dudley, Ma. 01571 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in this weekly column are those of Chief Wojnar only and unless clearly noted, do not reflect the ideas or opinions of any other organization or citizen.