Florida Driver Sues After Being Ticketed For Flashing Lights To Warn Other Drivers Of Speed Trap

The Florida Highway Patrol is the defendant in an interesting class action by Eric Campbell, who was ticketed for warning other drivers of a speed trap. Drivers will sometimes flash their lights to warn approaching cars in the opposite lane of the speed trap. However, the Florida Highway Patrol insists that that is illegal and gave Campbell a ticket for improper use of high beams.

The ticket was issued under “Florida Statue 316.2397.” Presumably, the officer was thinking of subsection 7:

(7) Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except as a means of indicating a right or left turn, to change lanes, or to indicate that the vehicle is lawfully stopped or disabled upon the highway or except that the lamps authorized in subsections (1), (2), (3), (4), and (9) and s. 316.235(5) are permitted to flash.

Notably, flashing lights does not necessary cover putting on your highbeams as a warning. Indeed, flashing lights could refer to the automatic flashers such as the emergency lights as opposed to the headlights.

One of the more interesting things for American drivers in France is the law that the police have to warn drivers of speed traps. Before any speed camera, there are signs warning you that you are approaching one. The result is that all of the cars slow down but few people get tickets. You got to love France.

Source: WTSP

Jonathan Turley

23 thoughts on “Florida Driver Sues After Being Ticketed For Flashing Lights To Warn Other Drivers Of Speed Trap”

  1. if the government is using covert and surreptitious means to monitor it’s citizens then they have the right, nay, the responsibilty to know when that is happenning.

  2. MO Patent Atty.

    How do you interpret this:

    FS 316.083(2):

    (2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle, on audible signal or upon the VISIBLE BLINKING OF THE HEADLAMPS of the overtaking vehicle if such overtaking is being attempted at nighttime, and shall not increase the speed of his or her vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

    The statutes can’t expressly permit headlights for communication EXCEPT for when it pisses off the cops. That would be censorship, i.e. a civil liberties violation. Maybe stick to patents?

  3. While I agree that revenue is the ultimate motivation behind ticketing those who warn of speed traps, please see section (a) below. The officer cited the wrong law, but there is a law

    316.238 Use of multiple-beam road-lighting equipment.

    (1) Whenever a motor vehicle is being operated on a roadway or shoulder adjacent thereto during the times specified in s. 316.217, the driver shall use a distribution of light, or composite beam, directed high enough and of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a safe distance in advance of the vehicle, subject to the following requirements and limitations:

    (a) Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet, such driver shall use a distribution of light, or composite beam, so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver. The lowermost distribution of light, or composite beam, specified in ss. 316.237(1)(b) and 316.430(2)(b) shall be deemed to avoid glare at all times, regardless of road contour and loading.

    (b) Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches another vehicle from the rear within 300 feet, such driver shall use a distribution of light permissible under this chapter other than the uppermost distribution of light specified in ss. 316.237(1)(a) and 316.430(2)(a).

    (2) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.

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