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Monday, June 25, 2012

Flashing high beams to warn drivers of speed traps

I know a couple of people who got charged for flashing their high beams in daylight to warn approaching traffic of a police speed trap. One of them, a middle-aged family man and a son of an OPP sergeant, was simply driving on a bouncy stretch of a highway and wasn’t flashing at all. Two kids in the back, almost no traffic on a local country road, yet the cop insisted on charging him. He took the case to court. The policeman showed up, of course, for this serious “case” (costing taxpayers hundreds of dollars), testified against my friend and got him convicted.

I’ve seen police officers on TV (including our superhero now retired OPP traffic expert Cam Woolley) specifically warn drivers against such awful behavior. I’ve also read in several sources  and heard from many people over the years that using high beams for any kind of warning is technically illegal and morally wrong.

Is it wrong? I don’t think so. The police themselves claim that their numerous speed traps all over our city streets and highways serve not only to catch the speeders, but also to be visible to traffic and make all the other drivers slow down. Well, doesn’t warning drivers of speed traps accomplish the same thing? Besides, I think the drivers that do this are as fair to the police, as the police are fair to drivers with their traffic enforcement tactics.

Well rejoice, my friends! Courtesy of Eric Lal and Jim Kenzie of the Toronto Star’s Wheels section, I just found out that after loosing a couple of court cases for charges under the 162(2) HTA, the cops no longer enforce this technical and self-serving interpretation of HTA.

Flash away, my friends! Slow them down!

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