Use of radar detectors

Planning to be in Italy in May, I have limited my auto rental usage to only 3 days touring towns around Siena. I assume European autos have the same power outlets as we do here for charging phones, GPS, etc. is the use of radar detectors allowed in Italy? All these discussions about traffic violations are making me nervous.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5735 posts

First, Guideline #8 for this board reads as follows:
8.Do not help people break laws. Speaking of the existence of law breaking is OK. Sharing how to circumvent visa restrictions, scam hotels, or perform other illegal acts is prohibited. Second, haven't you noticed that almost all the discussion of traffic violations in Italy is for violations of restricted access areas (the dreaded ZTL)? There's nothing a radar detector will do to help you with those.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6827 posts

Not sure if there legal in Italy or not, but it's possible the bandwidths used by European traffic radars might not be the same as those used in the US. Thus our radar detectors might be useless over there.

Posted by Marc
High Falls, NY, USA
19 posts

I have been made very aware of the ZTL as a result of the numerous discussions on this site and plan to be as cautious as possible around these towns, but I am asking if the use of radar detectors are legal to use.

Posted by Marc
High Falls, NY, USA
19 posts

Yes, you are right, they are illegal, but the GPS might be of help. Thanks for this info

Posted by Tom
Chicago
2876 posts

Italy uses automated speed-checking cameras on most of their motorways. These cameras use laser beams, not radar, so even if radar detectors were legal they wouldn't help you. And if you get nabbed by a speed camera, you won't even know it for months, which is how long it takes for the ticket from Italy to arrive in your mail.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3303 posts

What do you need radar detectors for in Italy? They don't use radar technology. On the freeway they use the Provida 2000, They basically pace you and record your car on a videorecorder that gets your speed etc. They also use the Tele-laser Microdigicam, which uses laser beams and don't know if your detector can detect them. They also use the Autovelox machines which take a picture of your car. They are all over the place (incl. freeways) and I don't know if your radar can detect them because they use infrared laser technology which beams two invisible (infrared) laser beams. Even assuming your radar detector can detect a laser beam, there are so many of those machines that it will be sounding constantly.

Posted by Paul
Weston, MA, USA
61 posts

In addition to what Roberto wrote, I drove extensively through Tuscany and Umbria and every speed camera was preceded by a warning sign that it was coming up. It is best just to relax, follow the speed limits and enjoy the ride and the scenery. Hey, you're in Italy, what's the rush?

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6827 posts

"...These cameras use laser beams, not radar, so even if radar detectors were legal they wouldn't help you..." Most all radar detectors also have laser detectors built into them. So in theory they would detect laser camera thingys.

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2172 posts

Yes, 12V outlets are pretty much universal. If you are lucky, you get a model that has also an USB power connector (for whatever thing you can charge via your computer). Radar detectors are illegal in ITaly, but even so, the majority of traffic enforcement with cameras is done with fixed cameras and (something that doesn't exist at length in US) sector control, whereas two cameras read your plates and measure your average speed within 1, 2, 5 or 10km (instead of just measure your instant speed in one specific point). The latter system is called Tutor. Speed limits are extensively signed when they differ from standard ones (50km/h within city limits, 90km/h on rural roads, 110 km/h on "blue" expressways, 130km/h on green freeways - "autostrade"). Just be attentive of speed limits, drive on the limit, and beware of ZTLs (less of a problem when travelling on the countryside).

Posted by Marc
High Falls, NY, USA
19 posts

True, true and true. Pay attention to road signs, stay out of ZTLs and enjoy the journey. Very happy to be using trenitalia for a majority of our travel plans. I appreciate everyone's input.

Posted by Mike
Boston
92 posts

Michael Schneider The stationary Italian traffic cameras use two laser beams that are tripped sequentially when the car passes. No radar detector would help.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6827 posts

A radar detector that also has a built-in laser detector could help. Part of the laser beam can bounce off the a car ahead you and trip the laser alarm. My local police department uses one of those "you're going xx mph" signs around town armed with a laser. My radar/laser detector detects that sign waaaay before it gets to my vehicle.

Posted by Nadine
Austin, TX, USA
492 posts

A radar detector wouldn't be useful, GPS can be very useful. We found the best way to know if a speed camera is ahead is watching the locals. They know where all of them are and slow down just before getting to them. That helps you learn the signs that they are ahead and makes it easier to watch for them yourselves. The ZTL are the bigger thing to watch for, most towns have them now. Park outside the walled towns and usually you will be fine.

Posted by Tom
Chicago
2876 posts

The Italian AutoVelox camera system can't be defeated by "laser detectors." That's because they shoot 2 super-narrow laser beams across the road at right angles to the traffic flow. By the time your detector goes off, they've already got you. The manufacturer claims that no detection device tested is effective against these cameras. You can read what they have to say here:
http://www.sodi.com/en/faq/traffic-division.html

Posted by Mike
Boston
92 posts

The cheapest detector for the Velox is to tailgate a local driver, preferably a BMW. They know the locations by heart.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3303 posts

Italian law requires that drivers be warned of a speed check machine ahead of time. There will be a sign saying CONTROLLO ELETTRONICO DELLA VELOCITA', before any machine or even a temporary speed check. Google the words above then go to google images to see what the signs look like (not really uniform across Italy). The warning sign is sufficiently distant to allow you to slow down. Unfortunately we don't always pay attention to all signs when we drive, so people get caught. It is also true that locals know where they are located, unfortunately there is no guarantee the car in front of you is driven by a local. He could be a tourist just like you. But if you like to speed, get on a freeway. The speed limit is 130km/h (85mph) so it's probably more than the speed you drive when you 'speed' in the US.

Posted by Mike
Boston
92 posts

By law, the camera must have a notification sign no more than 400 meters ahead. The problem is there are many more signs than cameras so one tends to lose attention.