Here’s the quick and simple rundown on police radar and police laser.


Laser is light.  Light is therefore very fast, as fast as the speed of light. Using a laser, the police have pinpoint accuracy and are targeting just ONE vehicle at a time.  Also, using laser, your speed can be locked in less than a second.

Laser is not an in-motion system and police have to be stationary to use it.  You often see the police parked up on the side of a motorway or road sitting on a motorbike or in a patrol car with the laser gun pointing at you, like an oversized pistol on a shooting range.


Radar is a type of radio signal and is considerably slower than laser.  Being a radio signal, it’s detectable over great distances, and from all directions.  In a more basic description, compare it to your car radio tuned to your favourite radio station, and it still works no matter which direction you drive, towards or away from the radio transmitter tower.

Radar is permanently installed in police vehicles, it’s usually visible on the top of the dash in a patrol car, also on the rear parcel tray.  Radar can also be installed on motorbikes but is less common in New Zealand.  Motorbike cops in New Zealand usually use laser.

Why is LASER going off constantly on my radar detector?

On most modern cars, many of the built-in safety features use some type of laser.  Laser-assisted cruise control, lane assist, headlight control and other features can cause all sorts of false laser alerts on radar detectors.

Or maybe your radar detector is just faulty.


This video is from the USA, some of the jargon and scenarios aren’t applicable here in New Zealand, but the technology behind HOW laser works is universal.