The thorny issue of the right of an individual to warn other drivers of ‘speed traps’ has taken another twist after a court case in the United States.
Ryan Kintner was pulled over and cited by Florida police last year for “improper flashing of lights” after alerting other drivers by an officer in an unmarked patrol car. However, an appeal court judge in Florida has ruled that flashing your headlights is a protected form of free speech.
The ground breaking ruling has caused departments across the USA to take a fresh look at their approach to the issue. Some departments view a “warning flash” as inappropriate use of headlights, and thus worthy of a ticket. But the Florida judge’s ruling is likely to spark a flurry of fresh legal challenges.
The judge wrote, “If the goal of the traffic law is promote safety and not to raise revenue, then why wouldn’t we want everyone who sees a law enforcement officer with a radar gun in his hand, blinking his lights to slow down all those other cars?”
It remains to be seen if the Florida case will have any future ramifications for British motorists.
Flashing fellow drivers as a warning against speed-traps remains a prevalent form of communication on Britain’s roads but is considered illegal.
Earlier this year, Lincolnshire motorist Michael Thompson was successfully prosecuted – and then lost an appeal – in a high-profile case for warning of oncoming vehicles of a police speed camera in Grimsby.
Thompson felt so strongly about the ruling that he has threatened to take his case to the High Court.
Author: Paul WilkinsonNo Comments