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




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.


Not surprised… Oregon’s free speech laws are very broad.


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


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.


It’s Smokey, after the funny hats troopers wear, not Old Smokey, the mountain in the folk song or Old Smokey the electric chair.

Waze is a handy option for tracking speed traps. OTOH, there are certainly plenty of places where I’d just as soon people drive much more slowly than they tend to do.


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

Hmm…the judge only approved the expressive conduct, not radar detectors. Many states ban them, so you may be able to tell others about speed traps, but be limited in how you are able to detect them other than by your own eyes.

The commuter map app Waze allows people to report both visible and hidden cop cars on roads - I don’t know if that feature is still available now that Google owns it. So we already have the tacnet.

(I’m not in favor of speeding, mind you, but a lot of speed traps are for quotas and profits. And many are set up at the bottoms of hills to snag anybody and everybody, not to get prolific speeders. I’d rather see tailgaters busted. )


“. . .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?


Take it up with Cledus.


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”


So now I want to encourage auto-makers to include a visible vehicle “dead man’s switch” that uses radar/laser detectors to let everyone play “Where is the POPO now?”

Like reverse sirens.


The whole thing is silly anyway, flashing headlights indicates danger - which could be a wreck ahead, road issues, or simply you’re driving without your headlights on at night. It might indicate that the popo are ahead and you need to get into the next lane and slow down, both are laws in OR too.

Cheese it! It’s the fuzz!


I hear that up here in Michigan, where swearing in ear-range of women is still, somehow, illegal. Technically, it’s illegal for me to swear out loud because I’d be swearing within hearing range of a woman - me. Obvious violation of the 14th Amendment, to be sure, but still on the books.


This story is weird for two reasons. First, how on earth do they catch you at this? You have to go flying by a speed trap in the opposite direction, into range of another cop on the other side of the road who’s on the lookout for flashing lights. Do highway police even set traps that complex, when there’s good money in speeding tickets?

Also, assuming you were busted for flashing, how on earth do they prove intent? As @Ethel points out it could mean many things, including oops I bumped the switch. If you’re canny enough not to confess, I don’t believe they can make a case at all.


Good for the driver for not just knuckling under and paying the ticket.


I’ve often seen a second speed trap a few miles down the freeway from the last one. I suspect it’s to catch people who speed up again after they’re past the first one.


Unless you’re quoting a song with those lyrics of course.


When I flash my lights, it usually means “Turn off your high beams you asshole.”


I don’t know about in this case, but it’s pretty noticeable at night when you flash your brights and the entire landscape lights up.


There’s a grand total of one state in the US that bans radar detectors in all cars: Virginia. (D.C also bans them, but isn’t a state). You could add three more to the total which have only banned them in trucks.