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Old 06-19-2009, 05:18 PM
703 posts, read 2,701,422 times
Reputation: 673


From Flashing Other Drivers Illegal? | NBC Washington (http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Flashing-Headlights-Could-Lead-to-Traffic-Ticket.html - broken link)
Updated 8:30 AM EDT, Wed, Jun 17, 2009

Is it illegal for a driver to flash his or her headlights toward other drivers to alert them about speed traps?
That's still up for debate in Maryland, but one driver did his best to fight the powers that be after being slapped with a $50 fine.

Mark Zaid told the Washington Post he was driving in Bethesda when a driver headed the opposite direction flashed his lights at him to warn him about an enforcement zone. Zaid said he flashed his lights back to thank him. That's when he was pulled over by police and given a citation for flashing his lights. He was also told he could have been charged with "obstructing a police investigation."

Zaid, a lawyer, didn't think that was right. So he went to court. He won his case because the cop who issued the ticket was on military leave and didn't show for the court appearance. But despite that technicality, Zaid thinks he has a great argument and wants an apology.
Montgomery County police said Zaid violated a state law that prohibits driving with flashing lights.

But any good lawyer knows that it's all in the interpretation. David Rocah, an ACLU attorney, summed it up this way while talking to the Post:
Rocah said the state's law "clearly refers" to flashing lights as an "adjective, not a verb." He said that means it is not legal to drive with a continuously flashing light on a vehicle, but flashing a light once to communicate with someone on the road is not a violation.
"There's no debate," Rocah said. "What [Zaid] did was not illegal."
While Zaid won his court battle, the debate will indeed continue. Police still believe they have the right to issue citations if you flash your lights.
Something tells us this battle won't be decided until it reaches a level much higher than a district court.


Are flashing turn signals illegal too then?
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Old 06-20-2009, 07:37 AM
Location: Monadnock region
3,712 posts, read 9,960,023 times
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having perused speeding tickets () from years ago, flashing your lights - as to warn of a speed trap or to request a slive driver move out of the passing lane- has been on the fine list for years. I believe you are supposed to drive with your hazards flashing if your car cannot maintain speed limit range and you are forced to, say, drive 45 on the highway.

posted by Psychofan: Are flashing turn signals illegal too then?
form the lack of useage I see around here, I'd guess they are!
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Old 06-20-2009, 07:55 AM
1,763 posts, read 5,508,396 times
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When we lived overseas, flashing your lights to warn oncoming traffic about a speed trap was the norm. Out of 10 cars coming your way, probably 9 of them would warn you. Don't know if it's illegal or not, but I usually avoid doing it if I think the patrol car would see it.
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Old 06-20-2009, 12:52 PM
Location: Monadnock region
3,712 posts, read 9,960,023 times
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oh in other states it's pretty normal also! I learned about it growing up in NH. I was very surprised to see it among the list of ticketable offenses when I got my first speeding ticket (not that I was charged on that, just that I was curious what all they could mark off). I guess the cops here really don't want anyone giving warnings, and/or they see it as additional revenue so that if they catch someone doing it, they can charge them for it and raise more money

I haven't seen it happening that much in these last few years on the stretch of roads I travel.
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:33 PM
Location: N/A
1,359 posts, read 3,377,220 times
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This was just one annoyed cop, and a rare occurence. It could have happened anywhere. I don't think the county is cracking down on flashing headlights. I'll still continue to do it.
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:49 PM
Location: Lake Norman, NC
7,537 posts, read 11,692,867 times
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I like how they said they could charge "obstructing a police investigation". That's a stretch!

You have to wonder why laws like this are put in place and used as a tool. No wonder there is a decline in respect for LEO's out on the streets.

What a shame.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:28 AM
385 posts, read 1,770,301 times
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You know, that's funny because I often flash my headlights if I pass a hazard (like a garbage truck or bicyclists that are impeding traffic), so drivers from the opposite direction slow down a little.

Even though they may slow down for fear of a speed trap, it may prevent them from coming up onto the hazard too fast and causing an accident.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:23 AM
Location: Baltimore, MD
205 posts, read 758,961 times
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The moral of the story is not to flash back. Try a wave instead. I never flash back because you can't tell how close the "hazard" is. Once I'm passed the "hazard" then it's safe to flash because whatever that "hazard" was can't see what my headlights are doing anymore.

If there's something blocking the road or animals then I do tend to flash for that. However, if there's a cop I only do it for certain vehicles.
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Old 10-31-2012, 04:14 PM
200 posts, read 256,392 times
Reputation: 82
How can it be illegal to flash your lights to warn of impending speed traps when cameras are the speed trap? The county police are checking out 7-11s for the best coffee and donuts or hanging out in parking lots filling out paperwork for little or no reason; basically documenting they sat on their butts in their cars for their shifts. That's real police work.

Do cops sit and wait for drivers to flash their light to warn about speed cameras? If so, why have red light/speed cameras?

They will soon have movable camera trailers to catch you flashing your lights, talking on the phone, eating, drinking or singing along with the radio.
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Old 10-31-2012, 04:29 PM
Location: Cumberland
5,327 posts, read 8,605,424 times
Reputation: 3780
I flash for animals near the roadway, I flash for drivers who forget to turn their lights on, I flash to let another driver know I am yielding right of way at a stop sign so they can turn left. There are plenty of reasons to flash your lights other than warning drivers of speed traps. I ANAL, but I think you could beat the rap on that charge pretty easily...........lots of deer around where I live.
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