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  • Hilary Sumner

Headlight Flashing: Obstruction of Justice or Protected Speech?

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Michael Elli was ticketed after he flashed his headlight as a warning to oncoming motorists. The moving violation was later dropped but Elli filed suit against the city of Ellisville, Missouri claiming that headlight warnings are a form of protected speech. Elli's lawyer is quoted as saying "if communicating the presence of a speed trap with headlamps is the obstruction of justice, then so too is communicating the same message by CB or at the corner gas station." Florida, Tennessee and Utah have also considered this matter; all three states siding with the drivers. Florida went a step further and lassed a law banning prosecution for flashing headlights.

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