Speedtrap FAQ

Through the years we have received thousands of questions about Speed Enforcement technologies used in South Africa. We have selected the most commonly asked questions in an attempt to give you a better understanding of the subject. The information contained below is provided purely for information purposes and we shall not be held liable for the accuracy of the information contained below.

Q1 What type of Speed Measuring Equipment (SME) are authorised for use in South Africa?


  1. Radar Equipment - Radar Speed guns
  2. Laser Speed Equipment- Laser Speed Guns eg Prolaser 2 /3 Ultralyte 20-20 and Photo Laser which is an automatic laser speed gun unit linked to a digital camera.
  3. Distance over time measuring Equipment.(fixed distance over variable time)These would also include camera supported units eg Truvelo Combi
  4. Distance over time measuring Equipment.(variable distance/variable time) eg Vascar


Q2 Are radar detectors legal?

Radar detectors have been declared legal for use in countries like the UK and the US with the exception of two states. In South Africa some legal sources say using a laser detector is illegal (it might defeat the ends of justice) but owning one and selling is not and there is no recorded instance of a motorist being successfully prosecuted for using such a device. New Zealand allows the use of them, as police involved in traffic work believe that radar & laser detectors slow drivers down. We are marketing radar and laser detectors as we believe that radar/laser detectors are a necessity to reduce the risk of a speeding ticket with today's ever stricter speed-policing. These Radar/Laser Detector units allow drivers to concentrate more on driving safely instead of constantly watching the speedometer.

Q3 Why use a radar detectors?

Independent Research has shown that Radar Detector users have 24% fewer accidents and drive a further 40942 miles between accidents, through increased awareness (research undertaken by MORI in the UK). Click here to view article.

Q4 How can radar/laser detectors assist you?

Radar/Laser detectors can assist you in detecting the presence of Laser and Radar (signals)

Q5 I just passed a police car and my radar detector didn't go off?

Not all police cars have radar or laser guns.

Q6 There are places where I drive and my radar detector goes off with no police in sight. Why?

ICASA who is the communication authority in SA allows other uses on radar bands used by police. Most commonly this is found on X band (10.525 GHz) and it is called a false alert. Some common false alerts are caused by automatic door openers, burglar alarms, terrestrial microwave towers. Poorly made radar detectors in other cars can also cause your detector to false alert. No radar detector is completely "false alert" proof.

Q7 How many laser guns are in use in South Africa?

There are approximately 300 laser guns in use. (2002)

Q8 What is the most common range an officer uses a radar or laser gun?

Officers, by law, must establish a "visual tracking history" of your car. This means they must be able to identify the make and model of the vehicle before assessing speed with a radar or laser gun. According to guidelines with Radar your speed has to be recorded within a range of 600m and with Laser within 400m.

Q9 Sometimes my radar detector gives a long range warning to radar guns; sometimes it doesn't. Why?

Different radar guns transmit at different output powers usually from 5-50 mW. If you are standing 30 metres away from a friend and they whisper, you can't hear them. If they shout, you can. In other words, your friend is transmitting at two different output powers. Radar range is adversely effected by humidity, elevation, particulate matter in the air, rain, and snow.

Q10 I got a laser ticket and my detector didn't even go off. Why?

Laser is increasingly used in metropolitan areas as it can pinpoint one vehicle in a group of traffic while radar guns can not. At 200 metres, the laser guns 904 nanometer, infrared beam is only 40 cm wide and does not scatter (bounce off objects like radar). If your laser detectors receiver is out of this 40 cm beam width, chances are it will not alert to laser's use. If the laser gun were pointed directly at your detector, it would alert. The chances of getting any advanced warning of laser being aimed at the car in front of you are slim. Advanced High quality Remote Laser Diffusers like the Blinder Xtreme Series are very effective in detection of Laser as they are mounted inside the target area.

Q11 Are the claims of 360s radar and laser protection true?

For radar, the claims are valid. The letters in RADAR stand for Radio Detection And Ranging meaning a radar transmission is very similar to your favourite radio station. Radio waves bounce off metal signs, the truck in front of you, buildings, and other reflective objects. Although radar detectors have only a front facing radar antenna (with the exception of the dash mounted Valentine One which has a front and rear facing antenna), a radar transmission from behind you will most likely bounce into your radar detector's front facing antenna. Laser is another issue by it's very directional and highly collimated, monochromatic nature. If the detector were outside of the vehicle, most detectors will alert to laser from the front or rear. Rear alerts are hampered by the attenuation of the glass in the rear window. Side laser alerts are rare , and laser can't acquire your speed to the side.

Q12 How can I be sure my radar detector is operating properly?

Find a supermarket with an automatic door opener and drive toward it with your detector on. The automatic door opener should make your radar detector alert.

Q13 Will my radar detector see VASCAR?

VASCAR stands for Visual Average Speed Computer And Recorder and is a timing device that times your vehicle from one predetermined point to another. It is like a stop watch and puts out no signal. No radar detector can warn you of VASCAR.

Q14 Will my radar detector protect me from a photo camera ticket?

Photo camera tickets also known as Truvelo Combi in South Africa is an automated system with a camera linked to a cable on the road or below the surface of the tarmac. These are very common in South Africa. These do not make use of Laser nor radar and cannot be detected with a laser/radar detector.

Q15 I've heard putting tin foil on your hubcaps keeps a radar gun from getting a speed reading. Is this correct?

Drivers have tried everything to foil radar gun from fish depth finders, to neon lights, to tin foil on hubcaps. None of these home remedies work. There is only one way to fool a radar gun and that is by disrupting the "Doppler Shift" of the return signal.

Q16 Is the range of a dash mounted radar detector the same as a remote that mounts behind the grill?

Frontal performance of dash and remote detectors is almost identical. However, rear reception with a dash model is superior to that of a remote. Some remotes offer a rear receiver. Remotes can't be seen. Yearly, 1 in 5 dash models are stolen. Remotes are always a good option although inevitably are more expensive to buy and require a professional installation.

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