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A Florida Judge Ruled That Flashing Your Headlights Is Free Speech

Illustration for article titled A Florida Judge Ruled That Flashing Your Headlights Is Free Speech

They aren't too common anymore, but once in a while a free speech ruling that makes sense comes along. A Florida judge ruled Tuesday that an Orlando man, by flashing his lights to warn other motorists of an upcoming speed trap, was exercising his Constitutional right to free speech.


Ryan Kinter, 25, sued the Seminole County Sheriff's Office last year when a deputy gave him a ticket for doing just that. According to the judge's decision, the deputy misapplied a state law dealing with aftermarket emergency lights, trampling Kinter's Constitutional rights in the process.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Kinter saw the officer stop and pull out his radar gun on Aug. 10 last summer. Kinter reportedly drove a few blocks down and pointed his car at oncoming traffic, flashing warning signals at other cars. His warning beacon duties didn't last long before he was ticketed, somehow receiving a citation for running a stop sign as well.


J. Marcus Jones, Kinter's attorney, has also filed a related suit against the Florida State Patrol. (Hat tip to Amy!)

Photo credit: Rodney Keaney/Shutterstock

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I never flash my lights to warn other drivers of the police. I drive the speed limit—you're on your own. However, if oncoming traffic is approaching a dangerous situation, I will always alert them with a headlight flash.