Flashing your headlights to tip off other drivers to cops now officially free speech in Oregon

In Oregon, a judge has ruled that a truck driver who flashed his headlights to warn another truck driver that Old Smokey had them ears on and was hot on the trail is totally free speech.

"The citation was clearly given to punish the Defendant for that expression," the judge wrote. "The government certainly can and should enforce the traffic laws for the safety of all drivers on the road. However, the government cannot enforce the traffic laws, or any other laws, to punish drivers for their expressive conduct."

Notable Replies

  1. Quick - someone get on a secure, anonymous, wireless TacNet system for motorists! Combination dashcam, GPS, radar detector, and data sharing.

    Drive by a speed trap at a legal speed? You can send out a warning ping to anyone within broadcast range alerting them to the position of the trap and suggesting they reduce speed. Stuck in a traffic jam? Send out a warning that can reach the people behind you before they end up getting stuck, allowing them to reroute where possible. Car troubles with a dead cell phone battery? Send out a ping requesting assistance. Receive a warning from another motorist? You can relay it to motorists out of range of the original ping.

  2. Which doesn't mean you won't be harassed under some other pretext.

  3. The Oregon Constitution's speech protections are incredible. Obscenity is protected under the Oregon Constitution, but not under the First Amendment. Oregon is one of the few states to read individual rights more broadly than Federal Court's interpretations of the Bill of Rights, but there's no legal reason other states can't do what Oregon's doing, and many (including my Arizona Constitutional Law professor) think that's what they should be doing.

  4. ". . .Old Smokey had them ears on and was hot on the trail. . ." How many years have you been waiting to write that line Xeni? 20? 25?

  5. Reminds me of when I was a kid riding in a Semi with my friend's brother...
    Whenever we went past a hidden cop car he would go on the CB and say "I smell bear shit in the bushes near XXX"

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