Can drivers use headlights to alert others about speed traps?

Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager, Steve Montiero - Traffic Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road every week, helping Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.

Candace, of Seminole County, asked, “Is warning other drivers about a speed trap illegal?”

"I have been waiting for this question to come through, not because I didn’t want to answer it, but because of the countless times I have seen this happen and how it makes me laugh," Trooper Steve said. 

Typically, a driver sees an officer in the median or side of a road looking for speeders and alerts others by flashing their high beams. But is it legal?

"Well, courts have said the action falls under your First Amendment rights, and if you're flashing another driver with the intent of warning them of a upcoming speed trap, well, you cannot be cited for that," Trooper Steve said. "Now the small print: Keep in mind your headlights should not normally flash on and off. So when doing this, it should be brief and subtle and in the immediate area of the speed trap. Driving down the road for miles and flashing your lights could land you a ticket."

Trooper Steve said a few years ago he was conducting speed enforcement on Apopka Vineland Road in the Dr. Phillips area and traffic had suddenly slowed, which is unusual for that area.

"To my surprise there were two young teenagers about half a mile away with signs, saying 'Troopers ahead, drive safely.' I absolutely loved this because at the end of the day all we want to do is keep everyone safe," he said.

If you have a traffic question for Trooper Steve, submit it here.

 

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