Federal judge rules drivers allowed to flash headlights to warn of speed traps
ST. LOUIS — A federal judge in St. Louis this week ruled that drivers have a First Amendment right to flash their headlights to warn oncoming vehicles about police speed traps ahead, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The ruling, issued by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey, comes following charges filed against Ellisville, Mo., resident Michael Elli.
In 2012, Elli flashed his headlights to warn an oncoming driver about a speed trap and a police officer saw him do it. Elli was pulled over, ticketed and could have faced a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted.
Charges were later dropped against Elli, but the American Civil Liberties Union sued on Elli’s behalf, believing the charges violated the First Amendment.
According to reports, Autrey said in his ruling that the flashing of headlights “sends a message to bring one’s driving in conformity with the law — whether it be by slowing down, turning on one’s own headlamps at dusk or in the rain, or proceeding with caution.”
Source: Wall Street Journal