A Driver Got a Ticket for Flashing His Headlights to Warn Drivers of a Speed Trap . . . and is Suing the State of Florida
It may not be on the driving test, but every driver should know that when you pass a speed trap, you flash your headlights at oncoming drivers to warn them. Warning other drivers is illegal in some places . . . but it’s okay to do it in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and Virginia. Technically, it’s also legal in Massachusetts and Maryland, although cops have loopholes they can use to ticket you anyway. But it’s illegal in Florida. 2,400 drivers have been ticketed for doing it in the last five years, including 38-year-old Erich Campbell of Land O’Lakes (–a suburb of Tampa). Erich got ticketed for flashing his lights to warn drivers of a police speed trap back in December of 2009. He fought the ticket and won when a traffic court threw out the fine. But Erich wasn’t done. He filed a class action lawsuit, saying that flashing your lights is free speech. He also pointed out that there isn’t actually a law banning it in Florida. If Florida loses, they’ll have to refund the fines paid by all 2,400 drivers. While waiting for the outcome, the state has told troopers to stop ticketing people for flashing their headlights.