Flashing lights to warn of speed traps is covered under free speech, judge rules

The judge found that using headlights to communicate is Constitutionally protected free speech.

The time-honored practice of flashing headlights to warn other drivers of police speed traps is protected under the First Amendment, a Florida judge ruled earlier this week.

The decision came in a lawsuit brought by Ryan Kintner against the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, which ticketed him for flashing his headlights to warn neighbors that a deputy had set up a speed trap nearby. According to an Orlando Sentinel report, Circuit Judge Alan Dickey ruled that the officer misapplied a law intended to ban motorists from flashing aftermarket emergency lights, and that the act of using lights to communicate is protected by the Constitution.

Kitner isn't ready to move on from the issue just yet, however. He also has a pending class action lawsuit against the Florida Highway Patrol for violating a 2005 court order that bars police from ticketing motorists for flashing their lights.

Additionally, despite winning the civil case against the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, Kitner is still fighting in court to have the ticket itself dismissed.