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Old 01-03-2010, 06:48 PM
 
50 posts, read 83,222 times
Reputation: 62

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FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL

I just go popped earlier this month. The officer did not know that I had the entire incident recorded (video and audio). A link to the stop is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed7xiZeWrYk

He quite clearly stated that warning other motorists is illegal. Of course, the last thing I want to do is admit to something illegal. My excuse of 'wobbling light' was a genuine issue. I figured I could blame the on/off on 'troubleshooting' - but I never got that far. He wouldn't let me explain that I turned the lights on/off.

For those that think officers don't have the time or motivation to go after petty 'crimes' like this, let me remind you - the two FHP cruisers in this stop did over 100 MPH to catch me within 1 minute of me turning my headlights on and off.

There are many pro-law websites where LEO really talks nasty about the practice "I'd have them arrested for obstruction. The charge won't stick, but they'll get a free ride"... or "it's a gift that keeps on giving" referencing the insurance rate increase.

They take it very personally - that it's disrespectful. They then have a score to settle. One even states with pride "I've let speeders go to get the punk that's warning people"... fellow posts agree.

That being said, in my video, I'm accused of IMPROPER USE OF HIGH-BEAMS. The trooper refused to listen to my explanation (bogus or not), and insisted I used my brights. When I tried to show the difference in intensity between off/on and on/brights, he got even more offended.

That statute for which I was cited reads;

Quote:
316.2397 Certain lights prohibited; exceptions.--

...(7) Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except as a means of indicating a right or left turn, to change lanes, or to indicate that the vehicle is lawfully stopped or disabled upon the highway or except that the lamps authorized in subsections (1), (2), (3), (4), and (9) and s. 316.235(5) are permitted to flash.
This statute applies to the object or noun: flashing lights. The way I read it, the entire statute, including this paragraph, is meant to prohibit the use of "flashing lights" on all but certain emergency and specialty vehicles - and therefore not intended to prohibit a driver from flashing his headlights on and off in order to signal another driver.

Applying the rules of grammar and common usage, it is apparent that flashing of headlights is not covered by the plain language of the statute. If the FL legislature intended to prohibit this type of activity, the grammatically correct way to express that intent would be to say: "The flashing of one's headlights is prohibited" rather than "flashing lights are prohibited." It is the lights themselves, rather than the act of flashing one's lights, that are the subject of the prohibition.

In fact, it would appear that 316.083(2) allows for 'blinking' of headlamps to signal other drivers:

Quote:
316.083 Overtaking and passing a vehicle.-
The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules hereinafter stated:
...(2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle, on audible signal or upon the visible blinking of the headlamps of the overtaking vehicle if such overtaking is being attempted at nighttime, and shall not increase the speed of his or her vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.
You may notice that when I asked the Trooper "What is illegal with warning other motorists" he did not answer the question. Quick answer: It isn't.

A freedom of information request sent to FHP revealed the following numbers for citations issued under this statute:

Quote:
2005 326
2006 451
2007 368
2008 734
2009 531
So, that's 2400+ tickets for vehicles that had prohibited "flashing lights" on them.

What I experienced, and what the video clearly shows, is a frustrated trooper who found a way to punish a motorist who he thought was communicating with other motorists - revealing his position.

It sure would seem FHP is trying to prevent others from communicating. That's a no-no. Court date is early Feb 2010.

I intend on making this a free-speech issue...

Last edited by erkme73; 01-03-2010 at 07:01 PM.. Reason: had problems w/youtube link
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:00 PM
 
50 posts, read 83,222 times
Reputation: 62
Mods - I posted this here since it happened in FL, but if it's not appropriate, please feel free to move.
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Old 01-04-2010, 05:00 AM
 
Location: Hernando County, FL
8,488 posts, read 17,949,198 times
Reputation: 5397
What do you plan on telling the judge?
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Old 01-04-2010, 05:17 AM
 
Location: San Diego
35,245 posts, read 32,197,534 times
Reputation: 19787
It's not legal to flash someone who is blinding you with beams on high?
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:56 AM
 
50 posts, read 83,222 times
Reputation: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Peterson View Post
What do you plan on telling the judge?
I tried explaining that in the other automotive thread (Do you flash your headlights to warn of a speed trap?), but apparently my Ambien kicked in, as it's pretty much incoherent rambling - with a healthy dose of misspellings.

Once the Trooper finishes explaining his side of the story, I will have an opportunity to question him. I'll ask him if he's absolutely certain that I used by high-beams, as opposed to turning my lights on and off. I assume by this point, he may or may not have seen the video on youtube.

If he acknowledges he's unsure, there will be doubt as to his credibility.

I will then ask the officer what was illegal about blinking headlamps on/off or flashing brights to communicate with others.

I'll ask him if he has any other questions for me, or if he is finished presenting his case.

Then, addressing the judge, I will read FS 316.2397, drawing attention to the fact that it is a well-established rule of statutory interpretation that words and phrases must be read in context and construed according to the rules of grammar and common usage.

Applying the rules of grammar and common usage to FS 316.2397.7, it is apparent that the act of flashing headlights is not covered by the plain language of the statute. If the FL legislature intended to prohibit the type of activity that I was engaged in, the grammatically correct way to express that intent would be to say: "The flashing of one's headlights is prohibited" rather than "flashing lights are prohibited." It is the lights themselves, rather than the act of flashing one's lights, that are the subject of the prohibition.

Furthermore, the Statute prohibits flashing lights on all vehicles except emergency vehicles and various other specialty vehicles such as rural mail delivery vehicles, and funeral escort vehicles. It is clear that all of the vehicles that fall within the exception to the general prohibition utilize roof-mounted lights that flash, oscillate or rotate. Therefore, the implication is that the prohibition is aimed towards the use of similar roof-mounted lights on ordinary passenger vehicles.


To read the Statute in accordance with the Trooper's argument would make illegal the flashing of headlights in all situations, including some useful and historically lawful instances. For example, the flashing of headlights can be used to signal another driver to turn on his or her headlights. The flashing of headlights is also used on highways to let the driver of a passing vehicle know that it is safe to move back into the right-hand lane. It is doubtful that the flashing of headlights in these examples was intended to be outlawed by the legislature, but that is exactly the result if State's argument is accepted.


If this fails, then I'll revert to the 'flash when passing' statute which allows blinking of headlamps when passing on the left - which is what I was doing.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Boston MA, by way of NYC
2,763 posts, read 6,006,234 times
Reputation: 503
I don't mean to be graphic, but it sounds like this trooper had a "hard on" to give a ticket that day - what type of ticket didn't matter as long as he gave one.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:02 PM
 
50 posts, read 83,222 times
Reputation: 62
And, I don't mean to over generalize, but that's pretty much Academy 101. You'll hear all sorts of "well I give way more warnings than tickets", but at the end of the day, they are an extension of the tax collector's office. While I have issues with that in its own right, I have a bigger issue with their attempt to suppress our right to communicate. There are people from a few generations ago that would have burned cities to the ground over lesser issues.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Dorchester
2,602 posts, read 4,321,698 times
Reputation: 1082
Unless there is a law that specifically that flashing one's lights is illegal then it will probably be thrown out.
However, IMO warning a-holes makes one an a-hole. So maybe the ticket is deserved.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:19 PM
 
50 posts, read 83,222 times
Reputation: 62
Why are oncoming motorists a-holes?
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:20 PM
 
11,636 posts, read 20,454,851 times
Reputation: 12165
Quote:
Originally Posted by erkme73 View Post
FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL

I just go popped earlier this month. The officer did not know that I had the entire incident recorded (video and audio). A link to the stop is here:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed7xiZeWrYk

He quite clearly stated that warning other motorists is illegal. Of course, the last thing I want to do is admit to something illegal. My excuse of 'wobbling light' was a genuine issue. I figured I could blame the on/off on 'troubleshooting' - but I never got that far. He wouldn't let me explain that I turned the lights on/off.

For those that think officers don't have the time or motivation to go after petty 'crimes' like this, let me remind you - the two FHP cruisers in this stop did over 100 MPH to catch me within 1 minute of me turning my headlights on and off.

There are many pro-law websites where LEO really talks nasty about the practice "I'd have them arrested for obstruction. The charge won't stick, but they'll get a free ride"... or "it's a gift that keeps on giving" referencing the insurance rate increase.

They take it very personally - that it's disrespectful. They then have a score to settle. One even states with pride "I've let speeders go to get the punk that's warning people"... fellow posts agree.

That being said, in my video, I'm accused of IMPROPER USE OF HIGH-BEAMS. The trooper refused to listen to my explanation (bogus or not), and insisted I used my brights. When I tried to show the difference in intensity between off/on and on/brights, he got even more offended.

That statute for which I was cited reads;

This statute applies to the object or noun: flashing lights. The way I read it, the entire statute, including this paragraph, is meant to prohibit the use of "flashing lights" on all but certain emergency and specialty vehicles - and therefore not intended to prohibit a driver from flashing his headlights on and off in order to signal another driver.

Applying the rules of grammar and common usage, it is apparent that flashing of headlights is not covered by the plain language of the statute. If the FL legislature intended to prohibit this type of activity, the grammatically correct way to express that intent would be to say: "The flashing of one's headlights is prohibited" rather than "flashing lights are prohibited." It is the lights themselves, rather than the act of flashing one's lights, that are the subject of the prohibition.

In fact, it would appear that 316.083(2) allows for 'blinking' of headlamps to signal other drivers:

You may notice that when I asked the Trooper "What is illegal with warning other motorists" he did not answer the question. Quick answer: It isn't.

A freedom of information request sent to FHP revealed the following numbers for citations issued under this statute:

So, that's 2400+ tickets for vehicles that had prohibited "flashing lights" on them.

What I experienced, and what the video clearly shows, is a frustrated trooper who found a way to punish a motorist who he thought was communicating with other motorists - revealing his position.

It sure would seem FHP is trying to prevent others from communicating. That's a no-no. Court date is early Feb 2010.

I intend on making this a free-speech issue...
There are lawyers that specialize in traffic violations. I would contact one. My husband used these guys: Traffic Ticket Attorney / Lawyer | The Ticket Clinic Florida and Nationwide | Speeding Ticket Lawyer in Florida.

Don't go it alone. It cost us $70 for them to resolve my husband's ticket and they actually KNEW the right way to defend the ticket (which was bogus BTW-the policeman did not know the law).
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