“Free Speech”? FL Judge Allows Light-Flashing to Warn of Speed Traps


It’s perfectly legal for people to flash their headlights to warn other motorists of a speed trap ahead, a Florida judge ruled yesterday, says the Orlando Sentinel. The ruling, by Circuit Judge Alan Dickey, is a partial win for a man who was ticketed last year. Ryan Kintner sued Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger, asking the judge to ban the agency from writing any more of those tickets and to award him unspecified damages. The lawsuit said the tickets were a violation of drivers’ rights to free speech.

A few weeks ago, the county stopped writing such tickets. The judge said at a hearing: “If the goal of the traffic law is to 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?” A broader suit is on file in Tallahassee seeking an order that all law enforcement agencies in the state stop writing those tickets and giving the suit class-action status so that everyone who was ticketed in Florida for flashing his or her headlights between 2005 and 2010 can collect damages.

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