Warning other drivers of a speed trap is a constitutional right

Updated: 

A man has won his court case, claiming he cannot be fined for flashing his lights to warn other motorists of a speed trap, but unfortunately, he won the case in Texas.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, a Circuit Court judge said that the officer who gave Ryan Kintner a ticket had misapplied a state law banning aftermarket flashing emergency lights. That seems pretty sensible, as headlights are not exactly aftermarket items. However the judge also ruled that flashing your lights to communicate with other drivers is protected by the right to free speech.

That opens some interesting issues as cars start to communicate with each other. In a few years, many cars will automatically warn each other via Bluetooth about accidents and traffic jams ahead. Could some bright spark come up with an App to automatically warn drivers about police with radar guns and defend it as a right?

In the UK however, it might not be a great idea to get on your high horse, to mix models of transport somewhat. In 2010 Michael Thompson was stopped in Grimsby after flashing at several oncoming cars to warn them about the speed gun. He was charged with obstructing the police and eventually fined £175 and ordered to pay £250 costs and a £15 victim surcharge (although who the victim was in this case, heaven knows).

The police officer who stopped him said that she would have let him off with a warning if he had not made such a fuss about how he had done nothing wrong. In the UK a bit of light grovelling goes down better than appeals to free speech, it seems.