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Old 05-26-2012, 01:05 PM   #15
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I suspect my view is very unpopular. I refuse to flash my lights because if someone is breaking the law why is it up to me to save them from points on their license and a fine? I won't argue one way or another if it is a free speech issue but I will argue that those breaking the law, and getting caught, should expect to pay the price. I live in a neighborhood that severs as a cut through for traffic. Forever and always people just roll up to the stop sign, occasional slow down, and just sail right on through. What about the innocent pedestrian they hit? No it hasn't happened yet but I jump for joy every time I see a cruiser sit near my home and then take off after an offender.

Once again I won't disagree or argue with this right of free speech to flash your lights but my question to those that do it is how would you feel if you later found out that you helped enable a driver to get into an accident caused by speed?
I would agree with you. Its pretty likely that this is the same kind of guy that would come into your neighbourhood speed thru a school zone, fail to stop for pedestrians at a crosswalk. Police are generally targeting speeders travelling 20-30 percent over the speed limit. Although vehicles are safer. Pedestrians still arent faster, better protected or smarter quicker reacting drivers. Its proven that a driver who receives a ticket is more likely to obey the laws for a period of time then one who hasnt been ticketed. And we all of had a moment and said "wheres a policeman when you need one".
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:17 PM   #16
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After 39 years in law enforcement/criminal justice & education, I can't believe anybody would be that stupid. The citizens of Seminole County need to elect themselves a new sheriff who needs to demote or fire anyone over the rank of deputy and start all over with ranking people who have an IQ of at least 2 digits.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:38 PM   #17
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I suspect my view is very unpopular. I refuse to flash my lights because if someone is breaking the law why is it up to me to save them from points on their license and a fine? I won't argue one way or another if it is a free speech issue but I will argue that those breaking the law, and getting caught, should expect to pay the price. I live in a neighborhood that severs as a cut through for traffic. Forever and always people just roll up to the stop sign, occasional slow down, and just sail right on through. What about the innocent pedestrian they hit? No it hasn't happened yet but I jump for joy every time I see a cruiser sit near my home and then take off after an offender.

Once again I won't disagree or argue with this right of free speech to flash your lights but my question to those that do it is how would you feel if you later found out that you helped enable a driver to get into an accident caused by speed?
The usual out come of when a special enforcement team is put in a neighborhood to counter this action is that 75% of the drivers ticketed live in the neighborhood.

I don't care one way or the other about people flashing their lights, using a CB to warn of police locations (remember those days) or someone using a radar detector (which has, that I know of0, no lawful purpose. If trying to detect people using or doing these things if the most effecient use of police resources in a community, then that community may wish to reevaluate the size of the department and the amount of tax dollars their spending on it. If police officers are using radar properly, a radar dectector is virtually useless. Used prperly, except in rare instances, if a radar unit lights up your detector your speed has just been verified.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:46 PM   #18
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... or someone using a radar detector (which has, that I know of0, no lawful purpose.
A device, activity, statement, action, or whatever does not need to have a 'lawful purpose.' Either it is specifically unlawful, or it isn't.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:57 AM   #19
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I wonder what "probable cause" he would have cited for having pulled you over to begin with. Seems like he violated your civil rights to some degree. Persons not breaking the law shouldn't be pulled over to be asked if they were... Small town cops are small town cops for a reason, usually... There are some exceptions, however.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:16 AM   #20
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this article refers to something a little differnt then just driving around and seeing a cop though.
According to the suit, Kintner was home when he saw a deputy park and pull out his radar gun. Kintner then got in his car, drove a couple of blocks away, parked and started flashing his lights at incoming traffic to warn other cars, the paper reported.


I have been 'saved' many times by flashing lights of someone. I to have saved many ttruckers and cars by flashing mylights back in my younger days. Back in the days that is how truckers talked. You flash lights, you tap brakes lights to say thank you or if there is a cop ahead. You can tap brakes to say thank you for allowing me space to enter, flash the lights to let you know whhen your clear to move.

I miss that on the road. it sure beats todays road rage were every one talks with their middle finger and obsenities.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:59 AM   #21
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Man, I wish I'd found this post earlier. I realize this is an old thread - but given that the new amended law went into effect on the first of this month, I figured it would be of some value (to FL drivers, at least).


Kitner's suit was, in part, due to the class action suit I filed against the state of FL in early 2010. I was stopped by FHP for blinking my headlights on/off at night. The trooper that pulled me over reached 104 MPH to pull me over.

He cited me for violating FS 316.2397(7) which is an equipment statute (vs. driver action statute). The statute prohibits flashing lights other than directional signals and hazards. Given that I 'flashed' my headlights (which are not lights designed to flash), I felt the statute did not apply.

After doing some research, I found the 2005 Alexis Cason (Seminole County), where the judge ruled this statute cannot be applied to actions of the driver - even if they were doing so to warn others of police activity.

I hired the lawyer that represented her. He got my case dismissed, and we filed a class-action suit to get the money refunded to the over 2400 motorists who'd been cited illegally since the 2005 decision.

In the mean time, Kitner (the guy in the OP's article) was ticketed by the same department that was specifically told not to by the Cason judge in '05. Unbelievable, but true.

Since then, as a result of the suit, the FL legislature has amended statute 316.2397(7) to specifically state that a motorist blinking their headlights does NOT constitute a "prohibited flashing light" - regardless of the motorist's intent. In other words, the legislature wanted to make sure that law enforcement KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are NOT to use this statute unless someone had strobes, rotating lights, or other "flashing lights" on their vehicles.

Considering that the citation for violating this statute is a non-moving infraction (no points, no insurance increase, etc), and amounts to a $115 parking ticket, those cited never contested the charge. And those that did, even if found guilty, went on their way. On principle, I refused to accept what the police were doing under the color of law. That is, they were extorting the public by citing them for a law they knew (or should have know) was not applicable.

Further, as a previous poster indicated, if a motorist is stopped for something that is completely legal, it becomes a civil liberties issue. The 4th Amendment provides protection against unreasonable searches and seizures - and an officer stopping a motorist without reasonable suspicion that a crime (or violation) has occurred, is illegal.

Thus, if a motorist were to stand their ground and tell the officer the stop is illegal, and that officer were to find "additional violations" after affecting that stop, they'd all be inadmissible since the original stop was unwarranted.

Finally, as to the obstruction charge - there has to be a targeted investigation on the part of law enforcement (fishing for speeders does not qualify), and complicity between the subject of the investigation and the 'obstructor'. Given that a motorist blinking his headlights is unaware if oncoming traffic is actually speeding, AND the blinking of headlights is a general "head's up - hazard ahead" (i.e. it's not Morse code stating "P-O-L-I-C-E A-H-E-A-D"), such a charge could never hold up. It's why the "threat" of the obstruction charge is one that is levied by may frustrated officers, but never followed through.



Pasco driver helps change state laws | TBO.com

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TALLAHASSEE --
Eric Campbell was on the Veterans Expressway near Hillsborough Avenue three years ago when he saw the Florida Highway Patrol troopers and their radar guns. Like countless motorists have done over the years, he flashed his lights at oncoming traffic to warn other drivers.

The ticket the Land O'Lakes resident received for improper use of high beams has changed state law. As of New Year's Day, it is no longer illegal to flash your lights to warn others about an impending speed trap.

The provision legalizing such speed trap warnings is part of a wide-ranging motor vehicle law taking effect. Other changes range from allowing homeless people to get free state identification cards to creating a pair of new specialty license plates.

Campbell, now 39, said he's proud he was able to help effect change because the troopers were misusing a statute that had nothing to do with people who flashed their high beams.

"He cited me for something random that didn't apply," said Campbell, a graduate of St. Petersburg Junior College. "That is government abuse of power. If they are going to play ball, they got to do it right, play by the rules.''

Campbell's attorney, Marc Jones of Oviedo, filed a lawsuit on Campbell's behalf in 2010. The lawsuit influenced the state Legislature this year to pass a law to specifically allow motorists to flash their headlights at an oncoming vehicle regardless of intent.

Before lawmakers made the change in March, no state statute existed that said a driver couldn't flash his high beams, Jones said.

"What they have been doing for years is using an equipment statute to cite people for the physical act of flashing factory-equipped headlights," Jones said.

The statute under which Campbell was cited was meant only to ban drivers from having strobe light or official-looking emergency vehicle lights on their cars and trucks.

By the time the change to state law was passed, the Florida Highway Patrol already had ordered state troopers to stop issuing tickets for high-beam flashing.

But Jones said police still are improperly using other statutes to cite drivers for flashing their high beams. He filed an appeal in December in Tallahassee when a judge said the issue was moot because of the new law.

"We've effected some change," Jones said. "We're going to continue to move on until we can hopefully stop it fully."

After Campbell received his $115 ticket, people told him to pay the fine instead of fighting. But he couldn't back down, he said.

"On principle, I knew I was right," said Campbell, whose ticket eventually was dismissed by a Hillsborough County judge. "It required me being steadfast and having the good fortune of finding the attorney I did."

Another law going into effect today is the Florida Safe Harbor Act, which is designed to protect and provide shelter for sexually exploited children.

The legislation includes provisions that require police to turn over to the Department of Children and Families any children who are alleged to be sexually exploited or dependent for assessment and possible shelter. The department can then place such a child in a safe house if one is available. The new law also has requirements for safe houses.

Another provision increases civil penalties from $500 to $5,000 for some violations related to prostitution. It directs $4,500 of every fine going to the department to fund safe houses and short-term safe houses. The remaining $500 will go, as it now does, for treatment-based drug court programs.

Another new law as of today requires mortgage holders to release mortgage information to record title property owners.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:24 AM   #22
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There is now a new law (just went into effect) in at least one state outlawing the parctice.. I have also read of folks who put up a "Speed trap ahead" sign who got cited for "Obstructing law enforcement".

I also know of cities where, under orders from the chief, the dispatcher calls the local radio station and tells them where the speed traps are.

Note that I am expressing no opinion here, only information. Since with this house I drive, the speed limit is often faster than the fuel-speed limit (Which is 55-60) I don't much worry about that kind of thing.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:44 AM   #23
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The overwhelming majority of comments on the various local, national and international articles on this issue clearly side with motorists' right to communicate - and see the actions of the troopers in my case as vengeful retribution for revealing their fishing hole.

Out of all my national interviews, the only one that put a negative spin on it was my interview with MSNBC's Tamaron Hall. "Why were you helping people break the law?", she asked. And that is the argument many law enforcement supporters make. But that's a distraction. Whether you believe speeders get what they deserve, or a friendly "heads up" is warranted, is beside the point.

At issue is whether motorists have the right to communicate. Another FL statute REQUIRES that a motorist overtaking another at night "visibly blink the headlamps" to indicate intent to pass. Thus, the state has established that blinking one's headlights is a valid method of communication. So if it's legal to do use that method in one instance, but not in an other (simply due to the content of the communication), it is censorship - and runs afoul of the 1st Amendment - and is precisely what Kitner's 18th circuit court judge ruled when he dismissed his case.

At the end of the day, I got what I wanted... That the public at large knows that flashing headlights is a good way to warn others of potential hazards, and more importantly, that it is completely legal to do so (at least in FL).
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:22 PM   #24
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The overwhelming majority of comments on the various local, national and international articles on this issue clearly side with motorists' right to communicate - and see the actions of the troopers in my case as vengeful retribution for revealing their fishing hole.

Out of all my national interviews, the only one that put a negative spin on it was my interview with MSNBC's Tamaron Hall. "Why were you helping people break the law?", she asked. And that is the argument many law enforcement supporters make. But that's a distraction. Whether you believe speeders get what they deserve, or a friendly "heads up" is warranted, is beside the point.
Several years ago I read an article in a local Florida newspaper advising that State Troopers were disguising themselves as surveyors in order to catch speeders going through construction zones, where speed limits may be significantly reduced. Although I personally was never affected by this chicanery, I argued in another forum that this tactic was intended to increase revenues and had nothing to do with safety. I further argued that if increased safety were the motiviation then a patrol car stationed in clear view at the beginning of the construction zone would be more effective than a clandestine sting. Seeing the patrol car "at the ready", more drivers would slow to the posted construction zone speed limit than watching a single car get nabbed as they speed on by. Not to mention the hazard created by the officer initiating a pursuit in said construction zone ...

My point is that flashing your headlights will slow more drivers down and thereby enhance safety on the road more than the hidden officer who occasionally catches a single fish would ever hope to do. When they object, you know it's all about the revenue ...

Just my opinion.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:40 PM   #25
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If the true intent of law enforcement on the highways was to slow people down, they wouldn't use unmarked vehicles. If you park a marked police vehicle on the shoulder, people will slow down. A blue Mustang? Perhaps not.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:59 PM   #26
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In the 50s a small rural area had problems with ST Hwy speeders on the weekends. They placed a refrigerator box at each end of the community with spray painted "Warning COPS AHEAD"
problem solved.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:11 PM   #27
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Some years ago in South Central MA I was stopped by a local LEO and asked if I had been flashed by oncoming traffic warning me of his presence on this popular country back road. Whether I was or I wasn't was totally irrelevant because I always drove the road at, or below, the 45 MPH speed limit simply because I knew it was targeted by local law enforcement due to it's use as a popular east-west artery.

His question and demeanor kind of nagged at me for a couple of days after the stop because I thought, "Well, what if I was? If the end result was that I slowed down below the speed limit, then his mission was accomplished." But was it? Maybe his primary goal was to raise revenue for the town and the goal of safety was incidental to raising revenue.

This recent story appeared in the New York Daily News. I thought it might be of interest to this group.


Flashing headlights to warn of speed trap protected by the First Amendment: judge* - NY Daily News
If stopped the policeman/woman gets my licence, registration and insurance card and absolutely no words other than am I free to go. In my limited experience I have found that police have no problem with not telling the truth. If I have someone with me I ask them to turn on their cellphone. Our supreme court has ruled public servants have no expectation of privacy when doing their jobs.
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:48 PM   #28
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Free speech? That depends. It depends on the mood of the United States Congress, the Senate, The People. So many times the 1st, 2nd 4th and 14th amendments are argued to please the topic of the day. So many times certain amendments are discussed as the absolute, but then others are argued that they should be ignored - but then that is by the choice of the media.

What if: you didn't flash your lights, but you pulled off on the side of the road and signaled with your hand, or even made a sign, would the be freedom of expression?

Motorcyclists warn all the time. They tap the top of their helmet or head to indicate "bubble top" (police). Is that the same as flashing the lights?

Most likely it depends on the mood of the judge and how much money one has to fight it.
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