Flashing Headlights to Warn Other Drivers of Cops is Free Speech

Truck drivers often signal each other to warn about road hazards. For example, truckers would double-flash their headlights when they just passed a police speed trap to warn other drivers in the oncoming lanes.

That's what trucker Chris Hill of Southern Oregon did to warn others of a sheriff deputy behind him. Problem was, another deputy noticed his signal and radioed in to have Hill pulled over and issued a $260 ticket for misusing his headlights.

But was it legal? Hill decided to argue his case in court as a free speech issue ... and won!

According to a Jackson County judge, as reported by SF Gate, ticketing a driver for warning others of a police nearby is illegal because flashing headlights is free speech. "The citation was clearly given to punish the Defendant for that expression. The government certainly can and should enforce the traffic laws for the safety of all drivers on the road. However, the government cannot enforce the traffic laws, or any other laws, to punish drivers for their expressive conduct."

(Photo: bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock)


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You've heard correctly, and I oppose the philosophy of cops being used as tax-collectors-with-guns, when they should be used to find and catch REAL criminals.

(Also, Officer Fife told me he gives out 1 warning per day, and that day the warning went to me, so I didn't get a ticket out of it. 2 weeks ago, when I drove through Speedtrapville, I noticed they still haven't posted the 30 MPH.)
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Alex, don't look at it as a "Here's a free pass for reckless speed demons", but rather a "Double-check your speed, friends, in case you've accidentally drifted a couple of MPH above the posted limit".
Example: Barney Fife pulled me over 2 months ago in a little speed-trap town where the speed limit quickly goes from 75 to 55 (posted) to 30 (unposted). I was doing 41 in the 30 without realizing. Wish I'd been warned that a speed trap was waiting for me.
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Just to play devil's advocate here, but don't speed traps make the road safer? (At least in the long run, if that stretch of a road gets a reputation for being tough on speeders, then they'd drive more carefully there)
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A courtesy? [Deleted - we appreciate your strong sentiments, but no curses, please - admin]
Speeders not only endanger the lives of themselves, but they endanger the lives of OTHER PEOPLE. WE ALL share the road. [deleted]
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