A federal judge in Missouri ruled this week held that drivers have a First Amendment right to flash their headlights to warn other motorists of nearby police and speed traps. In 2012, driver Michael Elli flashed his headlights to warn oncoming drivers of a speed trap. He was pulled over, and given a citation which could have resulted in a $1,000 fine. The charges were dropped, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the city on his behalf, claiming that the city’s practices violated Elli’s rights to free speech. The city argued that flashing one’s lights could interfere with a police investigation.
This week, a federal judge agreed with Elli, holding that flashing one’s lights “sends a message to bring one’s driving in conformity with the law whether it be by slowing down, turning on one’s own headlamps at dusk or in the rain, or proceeding with caution.” Flashing your headlights is a Constitutional right – it is a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. Unless there is a compelling reason why the government should be censoring this expression, it must be permitted.
Read more here.