In some parts of the country, when drivers see a flash of high beams, it is a warning to fellow drivers that a speed trap is ahead.
However, when police in Florida saw one man doing it, he was issued a $115 speeding ticket.
Although his case was overturned, it actually is illegal to warn other drivers that there is a speed trap ahead in certain states.
Arizona and Alaska prohibit the flashing of high beams while New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia allow it.
Loyola law professor Jessica Levinson explains that police often have to stretch to find a legal reason or justification to charge a motorist who warns of speed traps.
“It feels like there’s something unfair about the cops saying, you’re not allowed to tell people where we are,” she said.
However, with the advent of the smartphone, the battle between police and drivers over flashing headlights just got digital.
Want to warn a fellow driver of a speed trap? Now, there’s an app for that.
Trapster––a free app that has over 16 million users who report and meticulously map speed traps, red light cameras, and other road hazards––allows anyone who downloads the app to have a digital (and constantly updated) heads up.
According to Levinson, “If law enforcement feels that this is not helping them, then I think, yes, the app could face some sort of question.
Levinson continued, “But they’re going to have to, you know, whoever prosecutes the app company, is going to have to come up with a good reason as to why this is hindering law enforcement.”
Thus far, no state has been bothering with that yet, so Trapster is growing larger by the minute and mapping the entire country in mere moments.