Speak Outs
Speak Out
Is flashing your car’s headlights protected speech?

November 20, 2013

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

Suppose you are driving and you see a police car pulled over to the side of the road, radar gun out, waiting to catch a speeder. You pass the officer, and a little down the way, you flash your high beams at the oncoming traffic, warning the drivers of the trap.

You would be doing them a favor, but would you also be exercising your First Amendment right to free speech?

Erich Campbell found out that helping other motorists might draw the ire of the Florida Highway Patrol. After flashing his car’s headlights to warn other drivers of a speed trap, he was stopped and ticketed. The highway patrol said flashing his car’s headlights was illegal.

It turns out that flashing your headlights at other motorists is not a crime. Campbell sued, alleging that the police violated his right to free speech. Soon after the lawsuit was filed, the Florida Highway Patrol ordered all troopers to stop issuing tickets to motorists who use their headlights to signal other drivers.

Campbell is not the first helpful driver to get ticketed. Four similar cases had popped up in Florida; in each case, the judge overturned the ticket. Campbell’s lawsuit used these cases as precedent. “In each of these examples,” his lawsuit said, “Florida courts properly found that (the law) does not prohibit the flashing of headlights as a means of communication.”

In a case involving Ryan Kinter of Lake Mary, Fla., Judge Alan Dickey said: “If the goal of the traffic law is to promote safety and not to raise revenue, then why wouldn’t we want everyone who sees a law enforcement officer with a radar gun in his hand, blinking his lights to slow down all those other cars?” The judge later said Kintner was protected by the First Amendment.

In Missouri, Michael Elli was ticketed when he warned other motorists of a speed trap by flashing his car’s headlights. A judge threatened to file a charge of obstruction of justice, but the case was eventually dropped. Elli is pursuing a lawsuit against the City of Ellsville, arguing that the local government is suppressing drivers’ right to free speech because it doesn’t like the message.

Courts in Florida, Utah and Tennessee have ruled on the question of whether flashing your car’s headlights is a form of protected speech or obstruction of justice. They all have decided that the act is protected speech.

What do you think?

Is flashing your car’s headlights a form of protected speech? Is warning other drivers an obstruction of justice? If you were a judge, how would you rule? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Comments
6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Xavier D
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think that drivers should be allowed to flash their headlights at oncoming traffic to warm them. If I were a judge I would rule the driver innocent. Warning others is not an obstruction of justice, just because you're helping others out doesn't mean you're breaking laws. If anything, a driver that let's another know a cop is ahead is slowing them down and they are driving safer. Basically protecting people like cops are supposed to do.

5/27/2014
Montgomery, TX
Bo
Metsker/Montgomery HS
Flashing your headlights at someone is protected speech, weather there is a cop with his radar gun at his speed trap, or some form of a hazard that others are not aware of. officers enforce the law and helping others follow the law should not be a form of obstruction of justice to keep someone from getting a speeding ticket, if officers are upset over other people looking out for each other than maybe we shouldn't take keys away from drunk drivers.

5/26/2014
Montgomery, TX
Bo
Metsker/Montgomery HS
Flashing your headlights at someone is protected speech, weather there is a cop with his radar gun at his speed trap, or some form of a hazard that others are not aware of. officers enforce the law and helping others follow the law should not be a form of obstruction of justice to keep someone from getting a speeding ticket, if officers are upset over other people looking out for each other than maybe we shouldn't take keys away from drunk drivers.

5/20/2014
Montgomery, TX
meghan
Metsker/Montgomery HS
Flashing your headlights to warn others of police ahead is just like honking your horn to aware people of an incident about to occur. Police officers nowadays abuse their powers so writing a ticket for flashing headlights Is completely ridiculous. yes, officers are doing their job making sure people are following the law and posted speed limits, but to get upset that others are helping people follow the law is crazy,

5/13/2014
murrieta california
kevin
mr jabro creekside highschool
I believe that flashing your head lights is not illegal, and that we have the right to. I dont think that warning other drivers is an obstruction to justice. we have rights i believe some cops just abuse their power.

5/6/2014
Rudyard/ Montana
Whitney
Mrs. Campbell/ North Star
If one is flashing their lights to warn about an oncoming policeman with a radar it is a form of protected speech. As an United States citizens we have the right to free and protected speech. If a policeman is to pull you over for doing such a thing than he is in the wrong and is violating your rights. This is not an obstruction of justice. It is just one citizen trying to be nice and help another one out. If we can not do this then I dont know what is right from wrong then.

5/5/2014
Rudyard / Montana
James White
Mrs. Campbell / North Star High School
I think that a person is using the right of free speech in that situation because you are speeking freely telling other motorists that the cop is there. They cop that issues the tickit is taking away your right to speek to others.

4/11/2014
Mckinney/ Tx
Jeremy
Adams/ CTE
Flashing your headlights to signal other drivers is a form of speech. By following through with this action you are communicating an idea or message to another individual just like talking or holding up a sign both of which are protected under the first amendment. The police officer who ticketed the citizen had no legal jurisdiction or authority to do so.

4/11/2014
Frisco, TX
Alberto
AdamsCTECenter
I feel that this matter is a form of protected speech. I think it would be difficult to be tried or ticketed for this action. to the officer's knowledge you could be communicating with oncoming traffic about anything... you could have possibly seen something on the road and are letting other drivers know to drive with caution. I feel it should be legal to warn other drivers about anything that they should be cautious about.

4/9/2014
frisco TX
Steven
Adams/CTE CENTER
I think you will have the right to. BEcause we can do it its a thing we can do. If a place trys to stop us incase if we are speeding. Than we don't violate it.

4/9/2014
Frisco, Texas
Brielle
Adams/CTE Center
Flashing your lights to warn others of an officer should not be protected by the first amendment. First of all people should be driving the speed limit in the first place and if they are not, they should be given the consequences for disobeying the law. Flashing your lights because the person in front of you did not have their headlights on when it is dark could be protected under the first amendment, but flashing them in order to warn other cars to slow down should not be. The people who are speeding need to learn their lesson and if they are warned, they will never learn their lesson and will then cause the idea of driving on safe roads irrelavent because they will slow down while they are passing the police officer and speed right back up when they feel they are far enough away. Then at that point the roads really aren't any safer than they were before.

4/9/2014
Frisco, Texas
Andrew
Adams/CTE Center
I do not believe that flashing your headlights should be classified as protected speech. If someone is flashing to another driver about speed, or if there is a cop ahead, then that is just called being polite. There is no law against flashing your lights. This case is a very frivolous case!

4/9/2014
Frisco/Texas
Taylor
Adams/CTE Center
Flashing your car's headlights should be protected if you were using it to exercise your first amendment freedom of speech. The traps the cops set up in oncoming traffic are unfair and there should be a warning set up because it is not fair to get an expensive ticket because you are speeding a reasonable amount. Obstruction of justice should not be charged for the warning of the trap the authorities set up, because you are practicing your freedom of speech clause.

4/9/2014
Frisco, Tx
Brooke
Adams/CTE Center
Flashing your car's headlights is not protected speech because it interferes with the police department. Typically, people flash their headlights to warn other cars about a police nearby. This shouldn't be protected because it interferes with police's jobs.

4/9/2014
Frisco, TX
Charlotte
Adams/CTE Center
Flashing your cars head lights to indicate to another car that there is a cop ahead, should not be protected by the 1st Amendments freedom of speech. The reason we have police on the road with radar guns is for the safety of the public. Whether they're pedestrians, or other cars. Speeding is 31% of the cause of all car crashes, injuring and killing 1000's of people. By warning a speeding driver that they could get pulled over, defeats the purpose of even having a speed limit on roads.

2/13/2014
Sidney, MT
Emily Schaff
Mr. Faulhaber
I find it kind of ridiculous that flashing your car lights can be protected by the first amendment. People should be following the speed limit anyways, not that everyone days. Is it nice that people are warning fellow drivers that a cop is nearby? Yes, but it should be up to the fellow drivers to drive the speed limit. The cops shouldn't be making it a big deal either if they flash their lights or not. There is no law against it, even though I disagree that simply flashing your lights is protected by the First Amendment. Overall, it just situation taken way out of proportion.

2/13/2014
Sidney/MT
Ryan
Mr.Faulhaber
I dont know why it should bother anybody. Under the 1st amendment is freedom of expression you should be able to flash your lights if you want.

2/3/2014
Watertown/MA
Greg
Rimas/Watertown High School
warning other people for a police trap ahead is not violating any law. people flash they're lights all the time and there are no laws against it.

1/27/2014
Sidney/MT
Garrett
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think that if you wnat to warn other drivers that a police officer is there than that is fine. If you flash your lights what law are you breaking? Not one law says that you can't flash your lights to warm drivers not to speed. If I were a judge in court, i would let this case go.

1/20/2014
Irving/Texas
Cyndel
Bradley/Nimitz
Yes it is protected under our First Amendment.It is a way that we communicate with each other in order to help each other out.Our First Amendment protects us from harsh punishment from the government in a case like this the fines brought upon by the police officers.Drivers in this case promote road safety from hazardous events(like a big fine).Lastly,flashing of the lights is not an obstruction of justice because in no case are you putting anybody’s life in danger.All you are causing is the lost of extra revenue on the part of the police department.

1/17/2014
Irving, Texas
Jacob F
Bradley/Nimitz
I don't believe that flashing headlights should be questioned under freedom of speech. Freedom of speech was more pointed at our abilities to speak against the government without harsh punishments. Flashing headlights to warn others before they can fall into the trap and get ticketed, I guess with a very loose interpretation, can be considered free speech. Honestly, there should be nothing wrong with helping others because it allows them to slow down before they end up with fines.

1/16/2014
Irving/Texas
Lyndsey
Bradley/Nimitz
I think that warning other drivers of a cop is endangering others. Police officers are there to protect people and I feel if someone gets a ticket then they could learn a lesson. If I were a judge I would not overturn the ticket. I feel as if that person deserves their ticket.

1/12/2014
Irving/TX
Daniel I
Bradley/Nimitz
Flashing your headlights is not an obstruction of justice and it is protected form of expression/ protected speech. This shouldn't even be a problem If I were a judge I would without hesitation take the side of the drivers. Officers should be worried more about safety rather than revenue and not make a big deal about it. They should be happy that they are telling other drivers to slow down

1/9/2014
Irving/Tx
Kristiyan
Bradley/Nimitz
Flashing your headlights is indeed a form of protected speech. I f you decide that you want to warn someone that they should slow down and obey the law, that is totally appropriate. The person you flash your lights at should be grateful for the warning and for the favor itself. By flashing your headlights, you aren not breaking any type of law, you are doing the exact opposite which is helping police keep speeding and law breaking to a minimum. if I was a judge myself, I would rule this case unconstitutional because it isn't necassary to fine someone for trying to help out the law.

1/8/2014
Irving/Tx
Adrian
Bradley/Nimitz
I agree that flashing headlights is constitutional, what will they try to ban next? I believe that the potential speeders will slow down after seeing the lights. This prevents car accidents so society will win in the long run. They should be glad that citizens are showing the common courtesy of helping out their fellow man.

1/8/2014
Irving/Tx
Jordan B.
Bradley/Nimitz
Flashing your headlights is definitely protected speech. If you want to warn other people about something ahead the cop should be grateful that you are helping keep the law breaking down to a minimum. If i could of had a say i would have definitely ruled this as unconstitutional! There is no since in the need to ticket someone that is just trying to help.

1/8/2014
Irving/Texas
Leanna
Bradley/Nimitz
Flashing your headlights is a form of protected speech. I don't believe that flashing your car's headlights is a obstruction of justice. I would appreciate being warned of obstructions in the roads like an officer with a radar gun. This kind of warning between drivers promotes driver's safety, and there is nothing wrong with that. If I were a judge, I would rule with the driver. Drivers should be welcome to warn other drivers of upcoming hazards.

1/7/2014
Irving/Tx
Alonzo
Bradley/Nimitz
Flashing your headlights at someone is in no way, shape, or form illegal in my opinion. You should be able to communicate to other drivers and there is a few ways of doing this. Honking can be a way to communicate with other drivers but I don't see people getting tickets for that. Honking doesn't always work. The horn may be damaged or you can't hear it so in that case driver turn to the other form of communication which is flashing your headlights. Obviously it doesn't work in the day but it's very helpful during the night. I know warning other drivers of a trap can sometimes aggregate officers but I believe someone shouldn't be pulled over just because they ruined an officers chance to issue a ticket.

1/7/2014
Irving/Texas
Teven
Bradley/Nimitz
Flashing headlights is a right protected by the 1st Amendment. Warning other drivers promotes safety, and should not be counted as an obstruction of justice. I would rule against the tickets, and any more that came up. I would also issue a statement to the local police stating that I would do this.

12/24/2013
Irving/Tx
Seth
Bradley/Nimitz
Yes i do think that flashing your car's headlights is a form of protected speech. Just because you warned others about a cop having a radar gun ahead them is not illegal its called being helpful. If i were judge i would overturn every ticket issued to any driver dealing with a case that is the same.

12/19/2013
Vacaville/California
Charlie Miller
Mr. Hawkins
It should be allowed for car's headlights to let others know that a police officer is using the radar gun. Flashing your car's headlights is a form of protected speech. The rights of citizens should be protected and that includes when someone turn on their high beams so that others cars know that there is a radar gun so that they slow down. People should not go to jail for getting others to follow the law.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/CA
Elizabeth
Hawkins/Buckingham Charter Magnet High School
If the purpose of traffic laws is to promote safety rather than raise revenue, then there is no reason why drivers should be penalized for warning other motorists to slow down. The purpose of a ticket is to remind drivers that it is important to drive at a safe speed, but a driver flashing their headlights to warn others about a speed trap accomplishes the same thing: getting drivers to slow down. I don't know if I would consider flashing headlights a form of free speech, but I'd hardly call it an obstruction of justice.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/California
Elisa A.
Mr. Hawkins/BCMHS
Flashing your car’s headlights should be seen as a protected speech. You are no danger to other drivers, and all you are doing is warning others about a police car. It seem that the only reason that there is a problem with this is because you can get fined a lot of money for speeding or get a ticket for anything, and that is money that goes to the state or city. And by warning people, that a lot of money that no one gets. Truthfully, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with warning other drivers.

12/18/2013
Vacaville California
Spencer
Mr. Hawkins/ Buckingham
The United States is a country renowned for the freedom and rights it provides to its citizens and the just manners it uses to keep these rights protected and in place. Sometimes though the system does seem to waiver, weaken, or blur in certain cases, such as the detainment and freezing a criminal defendants assets. When somebody is put under custody, the government reserves the right to withhold the criminal’s money and property so they can’t flee the country. Some would argue that this violates one’s constitutional rights to not be infringed upon or stolen from by the government. The constitution explicitly states the government can’t simply take what is ours away from us, but in my opinion, that only applies when yourself abide by the rules outlined in the constitution. Assuming from this point on that law enforcement is likely correct in their suspicions as they ought to be; if you are a criminal, you have violated the social contract on the Constitution, in which case, the only constitutional rights that still apply to you are the ones it outlines in regards to criminal defendants. You have the right to legal counsel, and to a fair trial, but nowhere does it overtly say that a criminal’s property is still protected by the law. There are consequences for not adhering to the rules that you are obliged to follow as a citizen, but criminals in essence are not citizens. They become stripped of several other privileges (namely access to public places, as well as their right to vote). Until the constitution were to amend that defendants have full right to their property, I would not say that freezing their assets is an unconstitutional assertion. After all, if the defendant is not guilty, as they would likely argue, then when proven innocent, their assets will be thawed and property returned to them.

12/18/2013
Vacaville, CA
Benjamin G.
Mr. Hawkins/Buckingham Charter Magnet High School
Is there even an issue here? The drivers were exercising their rights to free speech even the judges agreed with the drivers on the issue how is this problem. It was stated in the article that Judge Dickey of Florida that “..the goal of the traffic law is to promote safety and not to raise revenue…” This should be how everyone views this issue. Is it more important for people to drive slower or for the state to get the small fine that that they had coming their way? The point is that this issue has been declared as protected under the First Amendment by a number of judges around the country making it apparent that this is clearly not a problem. All this is doing is costing the states money with the large number of lawsuits that are being filed against them for these wrongful stops which is probably costing a lot more than the money that they would actually make from the traffic stops. This is not obstruction of justice. These people are in a way helping out the highway patrol in that they are slowing down traffic and keeping people going the speed limit that is exactly what the highway patrol is there to do. All the highway patrol is worried about is losing a little bit of money. This idea of this issue is simply senseless and comes across a somewhat pedestrian.

12/18/2013
Vacaville, CA
Donald
Mr. Hawkins / Buckingham Charter Magnet High School
Yes, flashing your headlights to warn other motorists of speed traps is protected under the First Amendment. I have a law enforcement background and I can tell you that I would much rather have people slow down under their own power than pull them over and do the paperwork for it. The goal of law enforcement, contrary to popular belief is not to write as many tickets as possible. The goal of law enforcement is and should be to promote public safety. Any way that public safety can be achieved should be explored. When motorists flash their lights to warn each other of speed traps they are doing officer’s jobs for them and effectively multiplying the amount of officers on the road. There is no criminal intent to this action and it is protected under the First Amendment, therefore it should be allowed.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/ California
Gabe Loyd
Mr. Hawkins/ Buckingham Charter School
Under the law obstruction of justice is generally defined as interfering with the administration of the courts, judicial system or law enforcement officers. Flashing your headlights is not obstruction of justice because you are simply warning other drivers to slow down. If the drivers decide to keep speeding and is caught by an officer that is their own fault. You should be able to warn someone because the point of a speed trap is to catch someone speeding that goes past the police man. If anything flashing your lights to signal other drivers is helping others adhere to the law by warning them to slow down, or they will receive the force of the law.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/CA
Jonathan
Hawkins/Buckingham Charter Magnet High School
Flashing your car’s headlights is without a doubt protected speech. Campbell was in the right when he found out that flashing your headlights is not a crime to warn other drivers. Here in California it is normal to flash headlights at oncoming cars when you see a speed trap. It is considered a courtesy for others just like how the Japanese use their hazard lights as a “thank you” when they merge or when a car lets them go. This type of courtesy is from the driver themselves, not the car. The car is used as a vessel for the driver to be courteous to others and the policemen forget that. Warning other drivers would never be an obstruction of justice because that would be in the same vain as a radical conspiracy theorist “warning” of an impending nuclear war. We have the right to warn others and the judges can see this. If I were a judge I would rule in the same light as them and recognize that these drivers are a courtesy to others.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/California
Alan M.
Mr. Hawkins/Buckingham charter Magnet High School
I believe that it is within a person’s rights to flash his or her headlights at oncoming traffic to warn them of a speed trap. Doing so is not only efficient; it is also protected speech by the First Amendment. Of course, not everyone would agree with me on this, but that depends on how others interpret the definition of freedom of speech. I define it as any speech that one speaks or intends to speak that is helpful, not harmful, for the people. Notice that I did not mention the government. That is because the people technically are in charge of how the government should run. If someone speaks out in a public area, for example, to criticize the government’s actions, they have the right to express their thoughts and feelings with words according to the First Amendment’s protection. Now, if someone were to actually flash their high beams at oncoming traffic, they are not even criticizing the government for anything. They are just simply warning people about the speed trap danger, and warning them not to break the law by speeding or else face the probable consequences. Besides, flashing headlights easily gets people’s attention; police cars and fire trucks do it every time they turn sirens on. Not only is it practical, but flashing headlights specifically for this purpose is actually helping the government a little by indirectly attempting to lift the load off of the small state courts which typically handle this type of case. In this sense, flashing lights is indeed protected speech, as it should be.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/CA
Savannah G
Mr. Hawkins/ Buckingham Charter Magnet High School
Although I’m not quite sure if freedom of speech is the most accurate term for it, I do believe that drivers should have the right to signal others with their lights as long as it does not put other drivers in danger. I don’t believe that warning other drivers of an incoming police officer is obstruction of justice. I think that sometimes, police officers are simply looking for someone to arrest to fill a quota, so they pull people over who are going even one mile above the allotted speed. I don’t believe that pulling people over for a small amount of speeding is really justice at all. Many police officers speed when they’re off duty, but they’re immune because of their position. This isn’t justice, so I don’t think warning other of unreasonable conditions is obstruction of justice. Drivers should be able to help each other out when there is an officer who is eager to arrest someone for something as insignificant as a couple miles over the limit. Also, what if there was an actual danger ahead that a driver was trying to warn others about? Passing a law would prohibit the driver from warning others, and potentially from keeping the road a safer place. If I were a judge, I would dismiss any tickets brought about by such a case and I would not support a law to prohibit drivers from signaling others of incoming officers. To me, it’s almost like common courtesy. Due to the number of officers pulling people over for barely speeding, it becomes necessary to warn each other. I would certainly want to know if there was a cop eager to jump on anyone going even one mile over the limit. I’m not sure that speech is the right type of freedom for this case; it’s more like freedom of communication, an element of speech. Broken down in general terms, though, it is almost a type of speech. There should not be a law that prohibits drivers from helping each other out. Thus, I do believe that flashing your car’s headlights is, in essence, freedom of speech.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/ CA
Steven
Mr. Hawkins/ Buckingham Charter Magnet High School
Flashing your headlights should be looked at as freedom of speech. The act is almost the same as if everyone had a HAM radio in their car and could just simply talk to each other. However, since not everyone has one in their car it is on to the next best thing which is visuals. Flashing your headlights as a warning is no more obstruction of justice then a road sign telling you to slow down for a turn. The cop could be sitting around the corner from that sign and since you slowed down because the sign suggested it, the sign would be obstructing justice and therefore should be removed. Such things are ridiculous and unnecessary. Flashing your headlights to warn other drivers should be protected and people should not get tickets for doing it.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/CA
Matthew H.
Mr. Hawkins/ Buckingham Charter Magnet High School
As Judge Dickey has stated before that if the goal of traffic law is to promote safety and not revenue, then there is no obstruction of justice because of protected speech. Money becomes the central problem in these cases from Florida to Utah. In this situation, the Highway Patrol is not worried about safety because safety is not an issue when someone flashes their headlights into oncoming traffic. If safety was an issue, then no judge would overturn the ticket. Consequently, that is far from the truth. The Highway Patrol and the United States government need to generate revenue in a failing economy. This is only another incident that is brought to the attention of the legal system due to the fact that these helpful drivers are protecting others from receiving speeding tickets and generating income for the government. Besides, shouldn’t this type of behavior be encouraged for the sole fact that drivers are being warned to slow down for their own safety and the safety of others? Evidently, most drivers slow down in these scenarios to avoid getting pulled over, but nonetheless, it is protected speech as outlined in the Bill of Rights. Therefore, if I was a judge, using past cases as precedents, I would rule in favor of the drivers.

12/16/2013
Irving/TX
Aaron
Bradley/Nimitz
Flashing your headlights, to me, and as many others have previously stated, should not be considered illegal. I do not think it's something that should be dealt with by way of the law; no, I think that right belongs to the people themselves. Hypothetically speaking, if one were to be driving down the road one night, and a pair of flashing headlights came their way, I seriously doubt their first instinct would be to think that there's trouble afoot. Instead, I'm sure they'd react strongly at the fact that it could possibly irritate their eyes. So, in closing, flashing your hreadlights, in my humble and teenaged opinion, should not be considered illegal. People who flash their headlights are either trying to help, or doing it for some other reason. Those who see these flashing lights either realize something's wrong or simply think it's a nuisance. Either way, it all depends on the intergrity of the drivers and whether or not they'll actually utilize the action properly.

12/13/2013
Irving/TX
Sergio G.
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe flashing your headlights is indeed a form of protected speech because this is practically the same thing as screaming or holding up a sign saying the same thing, and if those two are as well forms of protected speech this should be as well. On the other this in fact is also helping the city as well because just like a cop would stop speeding drivers, so would this but in a more economical and efficient way. The reason for that is that an officer may only stop one, but you flash your lights you will stop all. After all this i would rule protected speech for these reasons and more.

12/12/2013
Irving/Texas
Roberto.S
Bradley/Nimitz H S
As a judge I would feel to let this be protected by the first, Amendment reason is that, the flashing headlights are considered to be a form of speech. I think Erich Campbell had his rights violated that day reason is that he had the right, to signal other drivers and what the Florida Patrol had no right to arrest him.

12/12/2013
Irving/TX
Edward H.
Bradley/Nimitz
Even though flashing your car's headlights isn't speaking necessarily, I still believe it is considered as protected speech. I do not believe flashing your headlights to warn on coming traffic of a speed trap is an obstruction of justice though. If I were to pass by and see a speed trap, and saw others who did not see it coming, I would do the same exact thing. Because I would like I am leading them into getting a ticket, so I would be a good citizen and help others out. And I am pretty sure, If I were judge, I would have sympathy for this man and rule the case in favor of him. Because I would understand if I were in his shoes.

12/12/2013
Irving/TX
Reyanna
Bradley/Nimitz
I do not think that flashing your headlights is an obstruction of justice. It is a form of protected speech- a right given by the first amendment. I think it is okay for someone to flash their headlights to warn on coming traffic because i think that this can help promote safe driving. If I were a judge I would rule that the citizens are protected by the first amendment like in the the case of Ryan Kinter.

12/12/2013
Irving/Tx
Hannah W.
Bradley/Nimitz
How would you feel if you were driving and all of the sudden someone flashed their headlights at you. You would be disoriented and your vision could be would be blurred. Now yes there could be times that when someone does that to you that they would be trying to warn you about an upcoming speed trap. But there are times when it could really endanger those around you if you hit your headlights to where is was so bright that you couldn’t see. It could be a major hazard and could cause an accident and you would be the one that caused it. Think before you flash your headlights.

12/12/2013
Irving/Tx
Miriam
Bradley/Nimitz
Flashing your headlights in freedom of speech. Some might argue that due to the fact that it isn’t spoken it doesn’t count as speech, but freedom of speech also include the ability to express oneself symbolically. An example of this is wearing pink to spread breast cancer awareness. The person wearing pink might not verbalize but the message can be clearly conveyed by a phrase printed on the shirt along with the color pink. Freedom of speech is also freedom of expression, and that is why flashing your headlights counts as freedom of speech. In my opinion flashing your lights is not obstruction of justice because you are conveying a message to a civilian who is currently not suspected of any wrong doing. Currently many city have a “Photo Enforced” sign a few feet from interesting that have speed cameras. Are they also an obstruction of justice because the warn they drivers to take precaution? If I was a judge, I would rule that flashing headlights aren’t illegal and aren’t an obstruction of justice.

12/12/2013
Irving/Tx
Pedro
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that there is nothing wrong with flashing one's headlights to warn other drivers. Telling others to slow down via headlights isn't obstruction of justice and shouldn't be considered so. That being said, I would say that flashing headlights is a form of protected speech since it is communicating a warning to other drivers. Not all communication requires speech. If were a judge I would rule that there is nothing wrong with flashing headlights to warn other drivers because it is protected speech.

12/12/2013
Irving/Texas
Joseph C.
Bradley/Nimitz
I think this is a form of protected speech because its just like a person who is deaf signing with their fingers. The other driver was simply communicating to the other drivers that there is a trap by flashing his headlights. I also think that this should not be considered obstruction of justice because he's not stopping the cop from performing his duties, but only letting other drivers know there is a cop present. It is still the drivers choice whether to slow down or take a ticket. This is how I would base my ruling if I was a judge presiding over this case.

12/11/2013
Irving/Texas
Monica M. M.
Bradley/Nimitz
When talking about the freedom of speech being in the first amendment, it does not necessarily mean it is a “get out of jail free card” because that leads to dangerous actions on the thought. The people can use the amendment when there has truly been a violation of their freedom of speech but to use it as something else does not suit the purpose of the amendment. It can influence bad behavior or danger and when the accused person is taken to court there can be the manipulation of the first amendment. Therefore if a person flashed his headlights to warn others passing about the police, it has no concerns with the amendment. It is just an action that needs to be settled in another way instead of taking advantage of one’s own rights. However, warning other drivers is an obstruction of justice only because laws were applied to keep things in order and safe. If there were to be an accident because of speed being the problem then the law was not followed. Rules are applied everywhere to avoid issues concerning safety. If I were a judge I would rule the flashing of headlights as an obstruction of justice.

12/10/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Riley S.
Ms. Knox/Shorewood High School
I think that flashing one's lights, as a warning to other drivers to the presence of police nearby is not a crime, and is protected by freedom of speech. If someone were to argue that this is not protected by this first-amendment right, I would tell them that fundamentally this is no different than rolling one's window down on the road and shouting at other drivers to warn them. Flashing lights is simply easier and more effective, but it is still a form of speech. Also, as the article states; many courts and judges in Florida, Utah, and Tennessee have ruled that the action is protected under the first amendment. If several courts have already ruled this way, I personally do not see any reason to disagree.

12/10/2013
Irving/Texas
Imbri
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that flashing your headlights at another motorist to warn them of the police and slow them down is a form of protected speech. Not only does it help them to not get in trouble, it also slows them down and causes them to follow the law. Furthermore, freedom of speech protects your right to express yourself and communicate with other people. Flashing your lights at another car is just another form of human to human communication.

12/9/2013
Irving/TX
Brandon
Bradley/Nimitz
Flashing your car’s headlights is a form of protected speech. As a driver, I would appreciate anyone trying to warn me of an officer with a radar gun. In addition, the primary goal is driver safety and through the use of this kind of warning, it is ultimately achieved. If I were a judge, I would rule in favor of the drivers because in no way is flashing your headlights an obstruction of justice.

12/8/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Olivia
Knox/Shorewood
I do not believe that flashing your headlights is a protection of freedom of speech. The dictionary definition of speech is "the communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words." The key word in that Definition being "spoken words". Flashing your headlights is not speaking. It's a form of motion. Warning other drivers of a speed trap by flashing your lights is not particularly safe. By doing so you are distracting not only yourself but the other drivers around you. Police are there for a reason, that being to keep people safe. If you are flashing your headlights you are getting in the way of them doing their job. Although that person may slow down because they saw you flash your lights, what's stopping them from speeding right back up once they are past the trap? Police give warnings and sometimes do more than that all to protect people. If a person gets a ticket for speeding it is more likely to hit home with them. These people are breaking the law and need to be punished for it. Since these people are breaking the law and you are trying to stop them from doing so, you are obstructing justice. Simple as that. As a judge I don't know what I would do. It would be a hard call but I think I would need exact details of the case to decide. I would be more inclined to side with the person who charged the other person with flashing his lights.

12/8/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Jonathan
Knox/Shorewood
What is justice? One would see a court and a person being charged for a real crime, but what about a man being ticketed for going 10 miles per hour above the limit? What of a person who gives another a heads up to avoid a costly ticket? Those are not real crimes. Though I admit that flashing one's headlights to warn others of a prowling officer is not a protected form of speech, I do hold that this communication is not an obstruction of justice. An obstruction of justice is an act that actively prevents punishment of a crime, but we can see speeding is no real crime. Speeding is nothing more than a misdemeanor. Speeding carries no guilt of intentional harm. Even if ticketing was technical form of justice, most everyone who has ever received a speeding ticket was not deterred from speeding in future. If speeding is not a true crime and ticketing accomplishes little to prevent speeding, it is conclusive that to flash one's headlights is not an obstruction of justice. Though note that it would be arbitrary to pursue the issue farther as a protected form of speech. The flashing of headlights is too ambiguous to rule upon. If a judge were to encounter a case similar to those mentioned in Florida, he or she should follow suit and overturn the ticket thrown at the helpful drivers.

12/8/2013
Shoreline
Jake
Knox/Shorewood
I would argue that flashing ones headlights is not a form of free speech. In the context of the 1st amendment, freedom of speech was intended to protect people who spoke out against their country from arbitrary imprisonment. I would hardly call flashing of the headlights to be a protest against their government, nor do I suspect that those people are doing so. There is something to be said about how we view the Constitution today. There are many who take the Amendment out of context and gill in the gaps with false information. For instance, during the Sandy Hook incident, when the people were debating whether or not there should be bans on weapons, many gun owners, especially the NRA, argued that their right to bear arms was protected under the Second Amendment. However, historically this amendment was passed so that Congress could use the local militias to crush rebellions, as they did during the Whiskey Revolution, and the NY riots during the civil war. Originally, the founders were not looking to protect individiual rights to weapons, but rather, the government's right to put down civil unrest. While I agree that flashing headlights isn't illegal, I don't concur with the idea that it is protected under the Constitution

12/7/2013
Irving/Tx
Marissa
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe flashing your car's headlights is a form of protected speech. I feel that it is a form of communication between drivers to warn them of what's to come, and communication falls under the speech category therefore drivers have a right to flash their car's headlights. I don't think that it is an obstruction of justice, I mean after all it mostly helps drivers abide by the all after they've been warned. If I were a judge, I would rule just as the judges have in the cases of Erich Campbell and Ryan Kinter as well as Florida, Utah, and Tennessee, I would rule that drivers that flash their cars' headlights are protected according to the First Amendment.

12/6/2013
Shoreline/WA
Gilbert
Knox/Shorewood
As the first amendment covers all forms of communication, really that calls into question whether blinking your lights is a form of communication. In the case that it is used to warn other motorists of a speed trap it would be communication. However, those who would want blinking one's lights to be a crime would argue the intentions of the motorist in question. Sometimes highlights are aimed incorrectly or are too bright. In those cases blinking the lights would cause distraction or momentary blindness to other motorists, possibly causing disaster. If that were to happen, tickets should not be overruled. If the blinking of lights is to be widely considered a form of communication, then the lights of cars must be regulated better.

12/6/2013
Shoreline/WA
Lillie
Knox/Shorewood
While I believe that the driver was right to fight back and should not have been fined, I don't think he was right to sue for infringing his right to Freedom of Speech. The dictionary definition of speak includes "to utter words or articulate sounds" and the amendment itself does not seem to mention freedom of expression. Campbell did not yell through his car window, and despite the obvious blunder by the police officer, flashing his headlights did not technically count as exercising freedom of speech. The actions of the police officer should not be tolerated, but the same goes for those of Campbell in court. Furthermore, the Amendment says that you can say whatever you want, but there may be moral consequences. Flashing one's headlights is a practice that many sources advise against as it is distracting and may do more harm than good, causing a collision. The argument that the driver was trying to warn others to follow the law has no backbone. People should be following the law and shouldn't need others to tell them to do so. If they aren't following the law and are driving dangerously or recklessly, they need a wakeup call and should be punished.

12/6/2013
Shoreline, Washington
Maggie
Ms. Knox/Shorewood
Is flashing your cars headlights a form of protected speech As a student driver, I appreciate knowing what other people are doing, especially when it comes to where they are going to go. Having people flash their lights at me, either signaling me to go or that I have left something on the roof of the car, is valuable information. If I was put in a situation where I know that there are policemen checking for speed, I wouldn't be the one to flash the lights, partly because I don't know how and if I did because it would be too much to focus on for my brain to handle. If I was speeding, though, it would be nice for someone to give some sort of signal telling others to slow down so that they don't get a fine just as a common courtesy. But that doesn't seem to be the only part to this prompt. Flashing lights should be protected speech. Driving in cars gives you limited ways of communicating with other people. Flashing lights and hand gestures help clear up confusion between drivers that could cause accidents, and fewer accidents means safer roads and less deaths. Most courts have upheld the 1st amendment of the constitution as "communication". This means the communication between drivers, including flashing lights, is a form of protected speech under the first amendment.

12/6/2013
shoreline/washington
jonathan
Knox/ shorewood
There are two different forces here. the police man is there set up to make sure that the citizens are following the laws that are put in place to make sure that everyone stays safe. The moterist that flashes their headlights does not have the same intentions. They are simply telling someone to be on the lookout for the policeman who shouldn't be noticed at all. they are trying to save the speeders some money, where as the policeman is there to save the speeder's life. The speeders will not learn to slow down if they get away with speeding all the time. because after they pass the police car they simply will increase their speed to what it was before. this then is an obvious obstruction of justice because they speeder will never learn and will continue to think that they can get away with their crimes. so let's talk about protected speech. I don't believe that flashing your headlights constitues as "speech" of any kind. There is absolutly no way to determin (except perhaps in cases involving morris code) what a moterist means by flashing their headlights. it is simply an attention grabber. so i don't believe that it even matters wether or not it's protected because it's not even speech. And because it's an obstruction of justice they should both (the flasher and the speeder should be punnished.

12/6/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Allison
Knox/Shorewood
Flashing your car's headlights is not a form of protected speech. In today's society, many people seem to think that "free speech" constitutes them to being able to do or say whatever they want without restriction. In reality, this is not the case at all. There are a lot of restrictions on the limits of free speech--murder threats, child pornography, and so on. Many of these restrictions are in place because they have to do with the exploitation or endangerment of another individual. Flashing your car's headlights to warn other drivers of a waiting police car falls under this category. You are not doing society a favor by flashing your headlights. Rather, you are doing precisely the opposite by putting society in complete danger. Chances are, someone who is breaking the law by doing something such as speeding is not a one-time offender. A person who happens to be speeding at one point most likely speeds or has sped at other points in time, too. This makes them a danger to society and the only way that they will know the consequences or severity of their actions is by getting in an accident or getting a ticket. Obviously, the latter is preferable. Letting police ticket speeders protects everyone. By flashing your headlights to warn others you are destroying this protection. Therefore, flashing your headlights is not a form of protected speech.

12/6/2013
Shoreline, WA
Morgan
Knox/Shorewood
I think it is completely okay for someone to flash their lights at another driver. It's a way of communication from driver to driver to give a warning of something coming up in their direction. Everyone wants safe roads and driving right? Being safe involves the act of warning others, so why is it not okay to flash headlights as a warning? This should not be considered an obstruction of justice because its simply a way of letting people know to watch out or be careful to prevent unnecessary happenings. Doing so could prevent many things such as tickets and crashes. A simple flashing of the headlights I think is a pretty good idea to help others, whatelse could you do besides just that?

12/6/2013
Shoreline, WA
Maddie Markley
Knox- Shorewood High School
The First Amendment in our country's Bill of Rights protects American citizens' right to freedom of speech. It is a federal decided right that we have the right to express ourselves freely in the United States. Flashing your car's headlights at other motorists is free speech, and, as it states in the article, is not illegal. When Erich Campbell was pulled over and ticketed after warning another driver of a speed trap by flashing his headlights, the police officer violated Campbell's right to the first amendment and unlawfully fined him. Campbell's lawsuit is justified: the police officer - and the other officers from the cases Campbell used as precedents - have violated this Constitutional right. When motorists flash their headlights to warn of speed traps, they are also further enforcing the speed law by telling other drivers to follow the speed limit. It is the same as a student warning another student not to cheat on an assignment; these people are simply expressing their right to freedom of speech. They are warning people of consequences and preventing them from breaking rules and laws. The action of flashing your car's headlights is not an obstruction of justice, it is an act of justice.

12/6/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Susan
Ms. Knox/Shorewood
Flashing one's headlights to help another driver out would be considered exercising one's right to free speech. In this situation, it is considered a form of communication to warn other drivers about an oncoming trap. The purpose of police having this sort of traps is to get drivers to slow down for safety purposes. When lights are flashed to warn drivers of this, they will slow down. The purpose has now been achieved without drivers having to be ticketed for speeding. As you can see, this form of communication is also helpful to the police because it does cause drivers to slow down. One might argue that a driver can start speeding again after they've passed the officer without being ticketed. However, the same thing would happen even after a driver has been ticketed because they know they aren't being watched anymore. Exercising one's right to free speech in this way would bring benefits to both the law and the driver so it should be permitted for drivers to flash their headlights as a warning to oncoming drivers.

12/6/2013
Shoreline/ Washington
Nebiyou
Ms. Knox/ Shorewood Highschool
Flashing your car's headlights to warn an on coming driver is, in fact, a perfectly acceptable form of free speech. In the first amendment it grants us all the right to free speech. So communicating to other drivers about a on coming police officer is granted under that amendment. While some may say that by communicating to other drivers about a police officer you are obstructing justice, that idea is flawed in the sense that if a Police Officer is supposed to protect the community, by telling a driver to slow down, you are in a way, reducing the chance of an accident. If I happened to be a judge, this case would be very clear cut. Flashing your headlights are in no way a obstruction to justice, as you could simply be informing a driver that, for example, their tires are low. Therefore, those who are brought to court under the charge of obstructing justice, should be acquitted immediately because, under the 1st Amendment, they have the right to free speech and may do so in any way they see fit.

12/6/2013
Shoreline/WA
Eva W
Ms. Knox/Shorewood High School
Flashing your high beams to warn oncoming drivers of speed traps may be a form of speech, but that doesn't mean it should be free. Letting other people know that they need to slow down is nothing but a temporary solution. As soon as they're sure they've passed the trap they'll just speed up again - and what does that accomplish? They've saved at most a few hundred dollars by slowing down for a mile or two, but if we outlaw this method of warning people, we could be saving lives. A speeding driver is an unsafe driver, and an unsafe driver means that other people's lives could be in danger. By outlawing this way of tricking police officers, it would be easier, not only for them to know exactly what's going on on the road when no one sees them looking, but also to prevent potential accidents from happening and to help stop highway deaths.

12/6/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Aleksandra Bojic
Knox/Shorewood
Freedom of Speech should be legal to exercise in any form. Under the first amendment in our very own bill of rights, we are given freedom of speech. When you are driving in your car, it is difficult to verbally communicate to others on the road. Drivers communicate towards one another using their turn signals, car horn, or most common, headlights. Flashing one's headlights to warn others or to remind other drivers to monitor their speed is not obstructing justice but rather being a good citizen. It is then the drivers decision whether or not they slow down. If I were a judge, I would most definitely take the side of the citizens because flashing one's headlights is not putting anyone at risk of danger. Flashing one's headlights can be a good reminder to drivers who have dosed off and lost track of their speed. Those who speed should get the tickets and not those who remind others not to speed.

12/6/2013
Shoreline, Wa
Zia
Ms. Knox/Shorewood High School
Flashing your cars headlights is protected speech, and it's not something a person should be ticketed or go to jail for. There are few consequences for the action of flashing your lights to warn other drivers, the only one being a police officer doesn't get to ticket someone. The point of a ticket is to make sure someone pays for there action so they don't do it again. So if someone is able to prevent them by speeding in the first place the same goal is met. By informing other drivers of a speed trap it's working towards a greater good by keeping the neighborhood safer. Alerting a driver that a cop is near forces them to pay more attention to how they are driving, which usually results in safer driving. It's less work for the police, and less money spent for a citizen when someone alerts their fellow drivers of a speed trap. Speed tickets occur after the incident happened, so what does that do to prevent it? If someone or their property was damaged because of speeding being ticketed afterward wouldn't do anything to have prevented it. But if they had been warned earlier by a driver flashing their lights, perhaps the whole situation could have been avoided. If I were a judge and a case of someone flashing their lights to warn other drivers came to me, there is no way I would deem them guilty.

12/6/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Courtney
Knox/Shorewood
Flashing your cars headlights, I believe, is a form of protected speech. It is a drivers way of communicating with other drivers that there is something to be cautious of or something of notice up ahead. Plus, the flashing of your headlights to warn of a police officer taking radar can also be seen as a good thing. It makes the cars in that area slow down so as not to get a ticket. Aren't we trying to get them to stop speeding in the first place? Shouldn't we be happy that they are slowing down whether it was from prior warning or getting a ticket? Even though it may limit police officers abilities to hand out tickets, the overall benefit of cars slowing down on their own is much greater than the benefit of pulling someone over to fine them. Pulling a driver over for flashing their headlights to warn another vehicle of a police car is unnecessary and in my opinion doesn't make sense. The drive is only trying to help other drivers so that they don't get ticketed. He's also helping a police officer in the sense that he's making other cars slow down on the road. Having cars drive slower was the primary goal in the first place and since flashing your headlights to warn others to slow down is also achieving this goal, I think that flashing your cars headlights can only be seen as a good thing.

12/6/2013
Seattle/ Washington
Sophie
Knox/ Shorewood
If the goal of the traffic law is to promote safety and not to raise revenue, then there should be problem with drivers flashing their headlights at out coming traffic as they approach a cop with a speed radar. Flashing your cars headlights should therefore be a form of protected speech. It is a way of communicating and is protected under the first amendment with the five given rights. Flashing lights is the safest and easiest way of communicating while on the road. Think about it this way: take away the cop from the situation and imagine someone is simply flashing their headlights to tell someone to slow down. Is there anything wrong with this picture? In my mind, I don't think there it is. Flashing ones headlights at an on coming car to earn them of speed control is not an obstruction of justice either. The person who is flashing the lights has the right to do so as I mentioned before so this is not an unjust act, they have the right and are therefore justified when doing so because they have the law on their side. If I were to be a judge ruling this case, I would rule in favor of the motorists because, as I previously proved they are justified and they have the law to back them up. There is no stable case for the opposing side.

12/6/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Malaika
Knox/Shorewood
I think that flashing one's headlights at somebody else to warn them of a speed trap is not a form of protected speech, but it counts as such a small infraction of the law that it really makes no sense to be bringing an instance of such into the court. It's one of those things that technically shouldn't be allowed- in this case, giving some warning headlight-flashings shouldnt be allowed because it is a petty form of cheating the law, just like someone who has already taken a test warns someone who hasn't taken it yet about a trick question or something- but is inevitably going to happen no matter what kind of restrictions are made on it, and it would be far too much of a waste of time to make a bigger deal out of it. And honestly, this form of cheating is really just making each community in which a cop with a radar gun resides safer because it causes everybody to slow down! I know that laws can't just be ignored like I have suggested, but people are gonna do what they are gonna do, and if the cops don't like it then they should go and put their time to a better use.

12/6/2013
Shoreline/WA
Gilbert
Knox/Shorewood
As the first amendment covers all forms of communication, really that calls into question whether blinking your lights is a form of communication. In the case that it is used to warn other motorists of a speed trap it would be communication. However, those who would want blinking one's lights to be a crime would argue the intentions of the motorist in question. Sometimes highlights are aimed incorrectly or are too bright. In those cases blinking the lights would cause distraction or momentary blindness to other motorists, possibly causing disaster. If that were to happen, tickets should not be overruled. If the blinking of lights is to be widely considered a form of communication, then the lights of cars must be regulated better.

12/6/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Courtney
Knox/Shorewood
Flashing your cars headlights, I believe, is a form of protected speech. It is a drivers way of communicating with other drivers that there is something to be cautious of or something of notice up ahead. Plus, the flashing of your headlights to warn of a police officer taking radar can also be seen as a good thing. It makes the cars in that area slow down so as not to get a ticket. Aren't we trying to get them to stop speeding in the first place? Shouldn't we be happy that they are slowing down whether it was from prior warning or getting a ticket? Even though it may limit police officers abilities to hand out tickets, the overall benefit of cars slowing down on their own is much greater than the benefit of pulling someone over to fine them. Pulling a driver over for flashing their headlights to warn another vehicle of a police car is unnecessary and in my opinion doesn't make sense. The drive is only trying to help other drivers so that they don't get ticketed. He's also helping a police officer in the sense that he's making other cars slow down on the road. Having cars drive slower was the primary goal in the first place and since flashing your headlights to warn others to slow down is also achieving this goal, I think that flashing your cars headlights can only be seen as a good thing.

12/6/2013
Shoreline, Washington
Hyejoo
Knox/Shorewood
I beliveve that freedom of speech should be applied in this case because flashing your car lights is a way to commmunicate with other cars. Communication is a tyle of speech, and freedom of speech is protected under the first amendement in the Constitution. A driver simply flashing their headlights is a warning and it's is a matter of other drivers to take some sort of action as they choose. It would be unjust to accuse someone of committing a crime, when in reality they haven't done anything wrong. Also it won't always be the case that the drivers who notice the warning , will be speeding. There are safe drivers on the road who wouldn't neccessarily need the warning, but it would be helpful to have such warning. Iunderstand how the judge could see the flashing of the lights as an obstruction of justice, but flashing headlights helps keep people in check about their speed. Keeping the speed in check will help retain safety.

12/6/2013
Shoreline/WA
Eva W
Ms. Knox/Shorewood High School
Flashing your high beams to warn oncoming drivers of speed traps may be a form of speech, but that doesn't mean it should be free. Letting other people know that they need to slow down is nothing but a temporary solution. As soon as they're sure they've passed the trap they'll just speed up again - and what does that accomplish? They've saved at most a few hundred dollars by slowing down for a mile or two, but if we outlaw this method of warning people, we could be saving lives. A speeding driver is an unsafe driver, and an unsafe driver means that other people's lives could be in danger. By outlawing this way of tricking police officers, it would be easier, not only for them to know exactly what's going on on the road when no one sees them looking, but also to prevent potential accidents from happening and to help stop highway deaths.

12/6/2013
Seattle/Washington
Joseph Schermer
Knox/Shorewood Highschool
While the first amendment does protect the speech of individuals, I don't count flashing your headlights as speech. However the very act sets a bad precedent for drivers. Rather then motivating people to follow the speed limit closely through fear of being fined and ticketed, it conditions people to ignore the speed limit when there aren't cops. I understand that it's unfair to just wait for someone to go one mile more then allowed but this is undermining speed limit laws. The whole point is to follow them all the time, and what better way then installing a being caught. In addition your right of free speech may of been slightly repressed but people speeding down the highway violates everyone's right to have a safe place to drive. If people want the police to stop scooping out highways and freeways, they should just follow the speed limit to begin with.

12/6/2013
Seattle, wa
Curtwah
Knox shorewood
I think that flashing your headlights is OK as a way of speech, but it might pose a safety hazard also to the oncoming traffic. But the constitution states that the government could make laws to accommodate the safety of its citizens as well, which in this case could be making it a violation to flash your headlights at oncoming cars. The people who filed the lawsuit on the Florida Highway Patrol is probably bias toward how much they need to pay for the ticket. So they want to come up with ways to fight the ticket.

12/5/2013
Rudyard/ Montana
Sarah M.
Mrs. Campbell/ North Star High School
Under the 1st Amendment we are guaranteed the right to free speech. The Framers wanted to make sure that the people would always be free to express their thoughts without fear of persecution. That is why I believe flashing your headlights is free speech. This action doesn't hurt anyone, and it is within someones' rights to flash their lights at anyone. Yes, it does keep a policeman from stopping someone for speeding, but it has the same effect on a person. A speeder will see the car flash their lights and be reminded that there is a speed limit that they have to follow. If I were a judge, that is how I would rule. This action doesn't hurt anyone and it is within our rights as citizens of this country.

12/5/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Khalyce
Knox/Shorewood
Flashing your headlights should be considered protected speech. It is simply a way of communicating with another driver. The communication doesn't necessarily have to be about an upcoming speed trap either; flashing your high beams can be a way to notify another driver that one of their lights is out or that they need to turn their own high beams off. Therefore, flashing your lights is a necessary and useful form of communication. In the event that you were actually flashing your lights to warn of an upcoming speed trap, it would be wrong to consider it an obstruction of justice because you are prompting other drivers to slow down and follow the speed limit. This is something that the police should be in support of, rather than against.

12/5/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Jack
Ms. Knox/Shorewood High School
There are many situations in which people may use their protected speech for granted. When it comes to simply flashing the headlights of your car to simply warm other drivers to obey the speed limit, I don't see a problem. Flashing headlights is a form of protected speech for many reasons. The fact that individuals have been pulled over and ticketed just for simply flashing their lights seems a little outlandish to me. The act of warning people to stay within the speed limit is simply doing what the polices job is, without getting. Ticket. Police are supposed to withhold the law and carry out actions against those who violate those laws. When citizens help with these actions by urging people to slow down by flashing their lights they are essentially doing what the police are doing. Many people may view this act of urging other drivers to slow down as obstruction of justice. I do not see it that way. A simple warning from one driver to another driver has no malicious intent to the police force in breaking the law. Both acts of flashing your lights to warn drivers to slow down and pulling people over are both accomplishing the same thing just in different ways. Why is it worth it to penalize someone for trying to help keep others safe? If I were a judge in this particular case of someone being ticketed for flashing their lights to other cars to get them to obey speed limits, I would call the act protected speech. People have the right to be able to talk and communicate with others to help protect the overall atmosphere in society. I don't think it is right to ticket someone over an act that is meant to keep others safe.

12/5/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Jared
Knox/Shorewood
I believe that flashing your car's headlights is a form of protected speech. You are informing other drivers about the dangers ahead and that they must slow down their vehicles in order to ensure their safety. These drivers are helping the law by limiting the amount of hazardous crashes or fines being given to the drivers on the road. Judges, officers, and officials must understand that these drivers mean no harm to the other drivers or to making the act of driving a dangerous activity. I believe that the officers don't have the right to issue a fine to a driver who is simply trying to create safer roads and is trying to protect the lives of others. Drivers are just trying to create a form of communication with one another without causing any type of obstruction to justice.

12/5/2013
Shoreline, WA
Christina
Shorewood, Knox
Freedom of speech can be exercised in a variety of forms. People have the right to express their ideas and thoughts through multiple means such as posters, art, and writing pieces. Flashing high beams at other drivers as a form of communication is protected under the First Amendment. While flashing headlights may not be actual speech, it is conveying a message to the people around them. In this specific instance, the headlight flashing served to warn other drivers of an upcoming speed trap. Flashing headlights is simply another mean of communication and spreading ideas to other people. Police frustration is understandable as it is the duty of the police to catch those who are speeding. However, it is driver courtesy to warn others of upcoming traps they may be unaware of. Some drivers may not be aware of how fast they are driving and flashing headlights may signal to drivers that they are going too fast. If I were a judge, I would rule in favor of the citizens instead of the police force. Flashing lights at other drivers is not obstructing justice in any way. It is helping to enforce law by signaling to drivers to slow down. The driver does not have to slow down. It is a personal choice as to wether or not they keep speeding. If they do not slow down, then justice can be enforced by the police. Flashing headlights at other drivers is a more unconventional way to communicate with people but it effectively sends a message to surrounding drivers.

12/5/2013
Seattle, Washington
Claire
Ms. Knox Shorewood Highschool
Is flashing your head lights protected speech? I believe that flashing your head lights is protected speech. Flashing your headlights can be a sign to on coming traffic that there is an officer ahead. In a way some could consider this action of flashing your head lights as minipulating the law by warning those who are speeded to slow down. Well yes that is mainpulation, but the question is whether or not flashing your cars headlights is protected speech not if its minipulation of the law. Protected speech garneteed by the first amendment is that we the people have the right to express our beliefs and ideas without government restriction. To me flashing your head lights to warn the cars ahead of you that there is an officer ahead is an idea in action. Therefore, it should be considered protected speech. Some could argue that the local government is suppressing drivers right to free speech because it "doesn't like the message". To me this is a given, of course law enforcers would not like the idea of drivers warning other drivers with their head lights that there is an officer close by, but just because they don't like the act doesn't mean it's not protected speech. Flashing your headlights is not a crime, neither is protect speech, therefor flashing your cars headlights is protected speech.

12/5/2013
Shoreline/WA
Warren
Knox/Swood
Flashing one's headlights is a form of protected speech because it is a method of communication with fellow drivers on the road. Law enforcement's ultimate goal is to keep people safe and those people should be able to warn others to be safe, or in this case slow down, especially if it's by something so simple as a flash of one's headlights. This is also why it shouldn't be considered obstruction of justice because it's a way to tell others to watch their speed without having to issue a fine. If anything should be questioned, I believe it's the concept of a speed trap. An officer is usually hidden in these traps when they should be obviously visible. I think this violates a sense of respect among people because it's frustrating to see an officer hiding somewhere with the sole intention of writing up tickets for speeding; it may even come off as a lazy tactic. They sit there when they could be doing more purposeful tasks.

12/5/2013
Shoreline/Washington
David
Knox/Shorewood
Flashing your car's headlights should indeed be considered protected speech, as it is in no way infringing on anyone's rights or hurting anyone in any way. It is merely a useful way of communicating to other drivers in order to alert them of something. It is a beneficial action; not an obstruction of justice. If anything, it enforces justice. It prevents other drivers from doing something that is against the law and helps to promote it. To add to this, it is a fact that flashing your headlights is not illegal, stated not only in the introduction to this discussion from Jeremy Quattlebaum, but also by my driving instructors as well. If a legal action can help keep others safe and out of harm's way, then there is absolutely no reason why it should be forbidden to commit this action. While I myself admittedly do not possess the same knowledge as a judge does, it is basic driver knowledge to understand this point. It does not take an expert in the matter to know why flashing one's headlights does nothing that "obstructs justice."

12/5/2013
Washington
Javaria
Knox
Flashing car's headlights is a form of communication people have been using in this recent phenomena to protect drivers from recieving tickets. Since it is speech, translating to "Slow down!", we have it protected. The purpose of ticketing drivers is to teach them a lesson about breaking the law, tell them to slow down, so why is it wrong for someone to do so without the help of a hefty fine? People are typically more prone to listening to those who give them what they want, which is why a driver might be more appreciative of someone warning them about the dangers of their driving instead of punishing them for it. As a judge, I would side with Michael Elli, for he caused no harm and actually helped the police in their efforts to stop speedy drivers.

12/5/2013
Seattle, WA
Julia
Knox/shorewood
Flashing head lights is absolutely a form of protected speech. A driver flashing his/her headlights at another driver is a form of communication, therefore being protected by the first amendment. Flashing your lights has multiple purposes, more so then just warning other drivers of an oncoming speed trap. A cop cannot simply assume a drivers purpose for flashing their headlights. In many cases, when another person advises another to stop breaking the law they are considered a Good Samaritan, and this case is no different. The right to flash your headlights is protected speech, and the opposit of such would be a violation of the 1st amendment.

12/5/2013
Shoreline washington
Sam Anschell
Knox Shorewood
Flashing your headlight to warn oncoming traffic of a speed trap is most definitely NOT free speech. You are allowing offenders to bypass the speed check in, therefore assisting a crime. The entire point of a speed trap is to punish offenders, not just for the small stretch of road that the cop is monitoring, but for a much larger area, and warning people of a speed trap is like giving resteraunts time in advance to clean up their kitchen before an inspection. Flashing lights could mislead somebody to thinking that there is trouble amiss, who doesnt know that flashing means speed trap. Flashing lisghts also distracts drivers from the road, which only adds to everyones unsafety. Plus with less traffic tickets, cops have to fabricate ticketable offenses to meet their quotas, and so you are really inconveniancing the innocent to protect the guilty.

12/5/2013
Shoreline/WA
AJ B.
Knox/Shorewood
By designating the action of flashing your headlights at another person as illegal is absurd. There are a plethora of reasons to flash your headlights at another driver. In driving school, it is encouraged to give a quick flash of the headlights to another driver to remind them to turn there lights on, to slow down, or to alert them of a possible obstruction upcoming in the road. Therefore, the action of flashing ones headlights should not be a crime because it induces roadway safety. However, it may be ambiguous to constitute an action as a form of free speech. The fundamental rights of the Constitution may not apply to this scenario but it could possible relate to freedom of expression. With the high speeds of the drivers on the road, it is nearly impossible to have any sort of communication. Therefore, it is necessary for drivers to communicate by giving a variety of flashes to other drivers as reminders to stay safe and cautious while out on the road. Overall, use headlights as a form of communication should not be illegal but at the same time, it should not be considered an act of freedom of speech.

12/4/2013
Irving/Texas
Chadwick
Bradley/Nimitz
Flashing your car's headlights is a form of protected speech as it is your way of communicating to oncoming traffic there is a speed trap set up ahead of them. I can understand the police officer's frustration and irritation because this cuts down on the tickets that are handed out- decreasing the amount of revenue generated; however, their ultimate goal should be highway and traffic safety. Warning other drivers on the road of a speed trap is more of a driver courtesy than obstruction of justice- the justice occurs when the law is broken and if the speed limit is going to be enforced through driver's courtesy to one another so be it. If I were a judge I would rule in favor of the drivers as if I were on the road I would appreciate the tip that an officer is ahead with a radar looking for speeders. From personal experience as the one alerting others to speed traps, I don't want to be pulled over for this type of event- all I'm doing is extending a heads up notice that if they don't slow down they're probably going to get a ticket.

12/4/2013
Irving/Texas
Sarah M.
Bradley/Nimitz
I think this is a ridiculously easy choice to make. I don't see how flashing your headlights could in any way be an obstruction of justice. It's almost as if the police wanted someone to get caught. If we enforce all of these laws expecting them to make the world a better and safer place, why would we get into trouble for trying to contribute to that goal? Flashing your headlights to warn others is definitely a form of free speech because you're passing along a message through an action. This is in no way against the law. If I were the one ruling on this case, I'd of sided completely with Campbell.

12/4/2013
VA
Carolyn
MHS
I believe that Flashing you headlights is a form of protected speech, because you are warning other drivers that there is something ahead that they need to slow down about. That may be an obstruction in the road ahead, an accident, or an road hazard . So when a driver flashed their headlights they are communicating to the on coming driver. If I was a judge I would say the person that was ticketed was Not guilty.

12/4/2013
Charlottesville/ VA
Thomas
Bailey/ Monticello
Even though the drivers are not technically "speaking" the act of flashing their headlights to oncoming traffic to warn them of an upcoming speed trap should be protected under a person's Protected Speech rights. I can see how some officers and other officials may see this as an obstruction of justice, but the person flashing their lights is simply helping the law. He/she is the cause of drivers ahead to slow down, causing less chance of an accident and therefore safer roads. If I were the judge in this case, I'd rule in the favor of the driver. They mean no harm by their action, but only want to help other drivers be safe on the road ways and avoid that dreaded ticket.

12/4/2013
Irving/Texas
Jose A.
Bradley/Nimitz
Flashing your headlights is a form of protective speech. I don't see why warning other drivers about a hidden cop could be an obstruction on justice, I mean we're just being friendly to other people by letting them know. If I were a judge I would side against the police because they have no right to stop a driver for warning others.

12/4/2013
Irving/Texas
Christian S
Bradley/Nimitz
I Think that it should be okay to warn other drivers of speed traps. Police officers trying to catch people going a few miles over the speed limit is ridiculous enough. Like the judge said “If the goal of the traffic law is to promote safety and not to raise revenue, then why wouldn’t we want everyone who sees a law enforcement officer with a radar gun in his hand, blinking his lights to slow down all those other cars?” And If i where a judge I would drop the tickets because ticketing someone for something that is not against the law is not okay.

12/4/2013
Irving/Tx
David W
Bradley/Nimitz
Flashing your headlights is a form of protected speech. A driver is allowed to flash his/her lights in order to warn of an officer with a radar gun. Although the police may view the act as a way to avoid proper actions on a speeding driver and obstruct justice, the flash still causes people to slow down- which is the ultimate goal anyways. If I were a judge, I would rule that the flashing of lights at another driver is a form of communication and protected speech.

12/4/2013
Irving/Tx
Brian J.
Bradley/Nimitz
Even though the drivers are not technically "speaking" the act of flashing their headlights to oncoming traffic to warn them of an upcoming speed trap should be protected under a person's Protected Speech rights. I can see how some officers and other officials may see this as an obstruction of justice, but the person flashing their lights is simply helping the law. He/she is the cause of drivers ahead to slow down, causing less chance of an accident and therefore safer roads. If I were the judge in this case, I'd rule in the favor of the driver. They mean no harm by their action, but only want to help other drivers be safe on the road ways and avoid that dreaded ticket.

11/27/2013
Montana
Melissa
Mrs. Campbell/North Star
Flashing a car's headlights is a form of protected speech. Warning other drivers is not an obstruction of justice. People have the right to inform others of a trap even though it may not be the right thing to do. I do think that people should be ticketed for speeding, so personally I wouldn't flash my headlights. If i were a judge I would make it clear that it is not illegal and all legal drivers have the right to flash their headlights in means of communication.

11/25/2013
U.S. states Philadelphia
malcolm
MS. Leonard Widener Memorial school
I think you should flash your lights to warn people of the danger.

11/25/2013
philadelphia, PA
Christopher
Ms.Hill / widener memorial school
I think flashing your headlights at another driver is a form of protecting speech so other driver's can know that there is a speed trap.I think warning other divers is not an obstruction. if I was a judge I would say people should not be ticketed for flashing there high beams.

11/21/2013
Rudyard/Montana
Quinn
Mrs. Campbell/North Star High School
I feel that this is a form of protected speech. To the officer's knowledge you could be communicating anything to the oncoming traffic. You could have seen a deer in the ditch and could be warning them about the danger. They could have had their brights on and you could be asking them to dim them. There is a wide variety of things you could be communicating so for that fact they do not have the right to pull you over in the first place. Also, shouldn't the police be happy about this? People are doing their job for them! Really all speeding tickets are, are warnings to not speed again. You have to really be going fast to actually get arrested for speeding. I feel it should be legal to warn someone to stop doing something illegal, so therefore, it is also legal to flash headlights to warn about speeding.

11/21/2013
Irving/Texas
Scotty C.
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that flashing your headlights is a form of protected speech. If anything, when an individual warns another driver of an upcoming police officer, it will help highway safety because everyone is going the speed limit. If I were a judge, I would side against the police department on this one. I'm sure it irritates them that they can't give out as many tickets, but it is keeping the highway safe, which should be there ultimate goal anyways.

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