A driver coming from the opposite direction flashes headlights at you. You slow down. Sure enough, when you go around the corner you see a highway patrolman with a radar gun. That stranger with the flashing headlights saved you from a speeding ticket. Is that a good work, an example of loving one’s neighbor? Or is it aiding and abetting illegal activity? (I remember as a teenager mentioning that I flashed a warning about a speed trap, and my aunt jumped all over me, whereupon I felt ashamed.)
At any rate, I guess there is a law against that in Florida, though a judge in that state just tossed it out. Flashing your headlights to communicate counts as free speech:
That decision is another victory for Ryan Kintner, 25, who sued theSeminole County Sheriff’s Officelast year, accusing it of misconstruing a state law and violating his civil rights, principally his right to free speech.
He was ticketed Aug. 10 by a Seminole County deputy, but Kintner alleges the officer misapplied a state law designed to ban motorists from flashing after-market emergency lights.
Circuit Judge Alan Dickey earlier ruled that that state law does not apply to people who did what Kintner did, use his headlights to communicate.
On Tuesday the judge went a step further, saying people who flash their headlights to communicate are engaging in behavior protected by the U.S. Constitution.
“He felt the police specificially went out of their way to silence Mr. Kintner and that it was clearly a violation of his First Amendment free speech rights,” said his attorney, J. Marcus Jones of Oviedo.
So it’s legal. But is it moral?