Police in Ellisville, Missouri, are no longer allowed to ticket good Samaritans warning fellow travelers of upcoming speed traps, thanks to an order from a U.S. District Court judge.
It seems that a man was issued a citation in 2012 for “obstructing justice” by flashing his headlights to alert other drivers to the presence of a speed trap. The charges were eventually dropped, and the police chief warned his officers to stop giving tickets of this nature, but the ACLU stepped in to make sure the ordinance is taken off the books for good.
It seems there are lots of places around the country that have laws against people warning others of speed traps. A man in Texas was in court last month battling a similar ticket for holding a sign reading, “Police ahead.”
I don’t normally side with the ACLU, but they have my full-fledged support in this matter. It’s not only ridiculous, but an infringement on our right to free speech to make it illegal to warn others of cops with radar guns sitting around bends in roads with ridiculously low speed limits.
Besides, if law enforcement is really just concerned with keeping roadways safe, then they should be happy that more people are slowing down and driving more cautiously. Who cares what made them slow down? Oh, it must be about money. That doesn’t inspire much confidence, does it?
Flashing your headlights to other cars as a way to warn others about a speed trap is just the right thing to do. Only a jerk would want complete strangers in another vehicle to get a ticket. It’s not an obstruction of justice -- it’s the kind thing to do.
Do you flash your lights to other cars when you see a cop in a speed trap?
Image via Jeremy Sternberg/Flickr