500px-MUTCD_R2-1.svgIt sometimes happens while driving, you see a police patrol behind you or a speed trap, most often you flash your lights to warn the oncoming car which is driving too fast. You feel happy you have just helped a complete stranger to avoid a speeding ticket. However, another deputy stops you and hands you a ticket for inappropriate use of headlights. Shocked isn’t even the right word to describe your feelings at that moment. Don’t worry; it seems that the ticket could easily be fought in court.

The same thing happened to a commercial truck driver Christopher Hill, 38, of Klamath Falls, on U.S. Highway 140 near White City last September. After being fined for misusing his headlights, Chris contested the $260 ticket and said that his actions are protected as free speech.

Later, in Jackson County Justice Court in Medford, Judge Joseph Charter ruled that Christopher Hill was not guilty of misusing his high-beams and the police were wrong to ticket the driver. The judge said flashing headlights to warn other drivers for a police patrol is free speech and is protected under the State Constitution.

The case raises many questions and flashing lights to alert other drivers of police presence remains a prickly subject. However, the ruling will be considered as a benchmark for such cases all over the country.

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