Warning Others of Speed Traps: Illegal?

August 31st, 2011

A simple flash of the headlights would've sufficed...

As a driver concerned with the well-being of my fellow citizens on the road, I make an effort to warn oncoming traffic when I notice a cop stalking for speeders.

That is, once I’m sure that Johnny Law hasn’t locked his sights on me. When I know I’ve made it through the speed trap unscathed, I believe it’s my civic duty to warn others that a stealthy officer lies in wait around the next bend. A simple flash of the high beams usually does the job. It’s like an unspoken bond between drivers; one that leaves me feeling good about saving a stranger’s day and one I sure appreciate when I happen to be on the receiving end.

Who knew that, in some cases, such community goodness might be against the law?

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Alexis Cason was on her way to school one morning when she spotted two Oviedo police officers on the side of the road. She flashed her headlights to warn other drivers about the speed trap ahead. Moments later, another cop pulled her over and wrote her a ticket, saying she’d just broken the law by flashing her lights.

The 22-year-old Cason challenged the ticket and won. Others in Florida are doing the same thing, fighting back against $100 tickets issued for flashing lights at oncoming motorists. It’s happening in other states too, and, in many cases, there aren’t any laws specifically barring people from warning others about speed traps.

A news report from WTSP 10 News in Florida says Eric Campbell was recently cited too. Not only does he want his $100 ticket refunded, but he’s asking for $15,000 in damages. Things just got serious!

Since 2005, over 10,000 drivers have been cited for flashing their high beams in Florida, and if Campbell wins his case, the state could be facing over $1 million in ticket refunds. Or, if Campbell gets his $15,000 and sets an unlikely precedent, Florida could face over $150 million in payouts.

I fall on the side of the average citizen on this one. Heck, there’s even an iPhone app designed to fill in drivers on the location of known speed traps. If flashing lights is illegal, surely that should be shut down, right?

Do you warn others of speed traps or let them suffer whatever consequences await them?

-tgriffith

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  1. | #1

    I don’t flash much anymore, when you do that in Jersey people flip you off, then I find myself rooting for the cop in my rearview mirror. I do use Waze and Trapster on occasion though, to be warned, and to warn others.

  2. Randy
    | #2

    why the heck would I want to warn speeders that what you call a “speed trap” is in their path. I WANT THEM TO GET CAUGHT. I just saw then loading a body into an ambulance the other day around the corner from my home. The man was killed in an accident that he probably would have survived if the other driver hadn’t been speeding. It’s a real plague here in Michigan and I’d like to seem the police come up with ways to catch them in much greater quantities. I know on my street alone, a way to time everyone would net so many speeders that I don’t think they could write them up– almost everyone is driving 5-15 over the limit.
    And by the way, warning other drivers is obstructing a police officer, and you deserved to be punished. I’ll give you something to think about… If you don’t want to get a speeding ticket, don’t speed. It’s that simple. Speeding is not an “innocent” activity, it kills thousands every year.

  1. | #1
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