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woody6226
10-07-03, 09:45 PM
HI everyone. I was just looking around the site to see if I could find the answer to my question. My question is that in Massachusetts, is it illegal to flash your lights to oncoming cars to warn about police present, if so, how much of a fine? I sometimes like to help people out :)


Dan
10-07-03, 09:49 PM
dunno, ive heard of people who did that and got tickets for "interfearing with a police operation", a LEO could confirm if theres such a ticket.

btw where in mass?

Island_Girl
10-07-03, 09:49 PM
If you want to help the people out....flash your lights all the time (cops or not). Who knows, you may save a life one day.

I really think people in general need to slow down. Admittedly, I used to be a bit of a hot-rod.....then I grew up. LOL.


woody6226
10-07-03, 09:52 PM
I am in Western Mass... Just outside of springfield. I thought i heard of someone that had gotten a ticket for flashing their lights. i try not to flash near cops because i dont know if its illegal or not, lol. I hope someone can answer my question. THanks guys!

Dan
10-07-03, 09:53 PM
Originally posted by woody6226
I am in Western Mass... Just outside of springfield. I thought i heard of someone that had gotten a ticket for flashing their lights. i try not to flash near cops because i dont know if its illegal or not, lol. I hope someone can answer my question. THanks guys!

nice, that makes 3 locals (that I know of) on this board. lol:D

metallicat
10-07-03, 09:54 PM
I wouldn't flash my lights at anyone to warn of a radar trap ahead. A better lesson would be for the speeder to get a ticket. Having a cop breathing in your car window is a better lesson than someone flashing headlights.

woody6226
10-07-03, 09:55 PM
cool :)

but your not sure about my question. if you were patroling, and you saw someone do that, would you pull them over? thanks again

woody6226
10-07-03, 09:56 PM
But I also like when people warn me as well. I was going 55 in a 40 (HUGE SPEED TRAP) and i was soo happy to the person who flashed thier lights.

metallicat
10-07-03, 09:57 PM
Originally posted by woody6226
cool :)

but your not sure about my question. if you were patroling, and you saw someone do that, would you pull them over? thanks again

I don't know the law, sorry. I am not a police officer.

Dan
10-07-03, 09:57 PM
Originally posted by woody6226
cool :)

but your not sure about my question. if you were patroling, and you saw someone do that, would you pull them over? thanks again

Im not a LE officer, just an explorer. But when I become a LEO, if I saw somebody doing that, I presonally wouldn't pull them over. But then again I dont know what the laws are about this in mass.

Dan
10-07-03, 09:58 PM
Originally posted by woody6226
(HUGE SPEED TRAP) .

lol, what town was it in?

woody6226
10-07-03, 09:58 PM
Originally posted by metallicat
I don't know the law, sorry. I am not a police officer.

Sorry, I was talking to dan. THanks anyways

woody6226
10-07-03, 09:59 PM
Originally posted by Dan
lol, what town was it in?

Palmer. It is on Old Warren ROad. THe road is sooo long, around 7 miles long in total. If you saw it, the speed is redicules.

jaunt10
10-07-03, 10:35 PM
oh man if i got some obstruction of justice ticket for flashing my lights i'd be pissed. anyways i dont have a radar gun so in my mind its just common courtesy (i dont know if they're speeding or not)...saves people money. hope you all would do it for me. i'd do it for you.

woody6226
10-07-03, 10:43 PM
Originally posted by jaunt10
its just common courtesy (i dont know if they're speeding or not) hope you all would do it for me. i'd do it for you.
THats exactly how I feel. I fdont wanna find out the hard way with a nice fat ticket, lol.

99TAC
10-07-03, 10:48 PM
The cops that I have talked to said that the reason some cops make their car noticeable on the side of the road is as a deterrent to speeding. They said they don't mind if people flash their lights, because what is it doing?.......slowing people down, which is exactly what they are trying to do themselves. Mission accomplished.

woody6226
10-07-03, 10:59 PM
But they dont get the money from the speeders. Isnt that the point??

gdowkpc
10-07-03, 11:30 PM
Originally posted by woody6226
But they dont get the money from the speeders. Isnt that the point??

Oh, man. Cops are not interested in revenue...governments are. Cops don't get a cut, they get paid by the hour either way.

In Oregon it is illegal to use your high beam lights within 500 feet of an approaching vehicle. Most people flash their highbeams because its easier.

I used to be a member of RADAR - Radio Association Defending Airwave Rights. They reported the successful conviction of a motorist who flashed his lights to warn other motorists. The charge: Impersonating a Police Vehicle. The arguement: Police car headlights flash in similar fashion (not all alternate). This isnt a hard argument to buy into since the reason people flash their lights is to imitate a police car to let others know there is a police car present.

I would't write the ticket for it..but I would give you a second look.

CityPolice
10-08-03, 01:00 AM
I stopped a guy that was flashing his headlights one time and asked him if he had any problems with his lights. He said no, so I wrote him for an equipment violation (same as having one headlight) and he was pissed. Down here you can have your equipment fixed within 72 hours of the citation and it will get dismissed. If you get another equipment violation within 12 months of that citation, you have to pay a fine, so it could hurt him in the long run. He shouldn't have lied to me.

Dayna36
10-08-03, 01:13 AM
Originally posted by CityPolice
I stopped a guy that was flashing his headlights one time and asked him if he had any problems with his lights. He said no, so I wrote him for an equipment violation (same as having one headlight) and he was pissed. Down here you can have your equipment fixed within 72 hours of the citation and it will get dismissed. If you get another equipment violation within 12 months of that citation, you have to pay a fine, so it could hurt him in the long run. He shouldn't have lied to me.
He shouldn't have lied to me
Lied to you about what?

metallicat
10-08-03, 01:17 AM
Originally posted by woody6226
THats exactly how I feel. I fdont wanna find out the hard way with a nice fat ticket, lol.

Yeah, and then you become complacent because you just assume people will flash their lights at you. You will speed without regard after that. If you get a ticket for speeding from a cop, you will be a lot more likely to drive slowly in the future.

CityPolice
10-08-03, 01:27 AM
He lied about intentionally flashing his headlights, so I cited him for an equipment violation because his lights were flickering on and off. If he wasn't doing it, then he has faulty equipment that needs to be fixed. I probably wouldn't have written him if he told the truth.

ORCEnforcer
10-08-03, 01:30 AM
In Ohio, unless its on the local books, cant write for obstruction. BUT, driving w/highbeams on with approaching traffic is illegal. I like to stop when they flash me in a MARKED car. I have never written a ticket, just a warning and hopefully scare em a bit.

phuzz01
10-08-03, 02:27 AM
Originally posted by Dan
But then again I dont know what the laws are about this in mass.

Dan, Ch. 90 sec. 7 specifies that:

"No motor vehicle so operated shall mount or display a flashing, rotating or oscillating light in any direction except pursuant to section seven E of this chapter; provided, however, that this shall not apply to the use of rear directional signals nor to the proper use of vehicle hazard warning signals as provided for by this section."

I wouldn't say that it is cut and dry that this situation exactly fits the spirit or intention of 90/7. But, it does fit the language: people flashing their hl's to warn speeders ARE flashing lights which are not directional signals or hazard lights. And, for better or worse, plenty of officers write 90/7 cites for it without too much problem.

-Alex

mcsap
10-08-03, 02:44 AM
Legal in PA during daylight hours. At night , cannot use highbeams with in 500 ft of the approach of another vehicle or 300 ft from behind. Doing so will cause you to donate $104 to the Commonwealth.

I'll bet you wouldn't flash your lights at people speeding down the road in front of YOUR house.

I was in Granville, MA this past July and made numerous trips down to the ice rinks in and near Hartford. People sure do LOVE to pass illegally in that area!! Gotta be some nasty head ons.

Solego
10-08-03, 03:32 AM
Hey woody, define a "speed trap." Just remember, every trap has to have a bait.

hawkman
10-08-03, 06:44 AM
I have pulled people over for it, but only issued one ticket... one guy was flashing his lights about didn't even have a radar in the car :lol: This ol'boy was pissed too, so for his attitude he gave me, he talked him self into a ticket for failure to dim bright lights :D (he was using his bright lights to flash within 300 feet of on coming vehicles and vehicles he was following... which was my p/c). I see people doing it all the time tough, I just usualy don't do anything about it as I am usualy trying to catch up with someone running moch three down the interstate or some california rental ;)

jeff92k7
10-08-03, 11:24 AM
In Texas the transportation code specifically says that it is okay to flash your lights to warn of police monitoring traffic. Of course it's written in legal jargon, but that's the jist of it.

However, the Texas transportation code also says that you connot use your high-beams within 500 feet of oncoming traffic or 300 feet of traffic travelling the same direction. You are also required to use your lights at night. So... the only time you could actually get away with flashing between your high beam's and low beams is with no other traffic around (kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it), and the only time you can flash between low-beams and no headlights is during the day.

EHStaley
10-08-03, 11:40 AM
I don't flash my lights when officers are clocking speeders, like metallicat said, it would be a better lesson to let them get a ticket. A ticket will stay fresh in their brains much longer than if someone merely warned them by flashing their lights. I do,however, flash lights if there is a wreck ahead or a traffic signal out whether the police are directing or not, it has the same effect, they slow down. My intent is different. I do not what them to cause a worse accident.

EricTheBald
10-08-03, 12:38 PM
There's specific case law in NY on this issue.

I can't recall the cite offhand. I came across it once while looking for something else.


Guy passed a cop running radar, flashed the oncoming traffic and the cop came after him.
He wrote him on something else, I can't recall what.
The court said that it was obvious after testimony that the cop had written the other ticket because he couldn't cite for the actual perceived offense.
Again, I don't recall the details too well but I believe it was because there was no direct statutory law on the subject.
I also can't recall if this was trial level or appellate level, but the defendent DID win.


You know, in my opinion, both sides get too worked up about the whole "ticket" business, motorists more than LEO's.


People speed and cops try to catch them.
With certain rare exceptions, such as the corrupt department in that Ohio town near Columbus whose name I can't recall, the cop gets nothing financial out of the process, other than his regular pay.
Sure, on many depts the number of tickets written is a factor in the officer's routine efficiency reports, but lets be real...
Even if a cop is specifically out to write as many tickets as he can it's not like traffic offenders are hard to come across.

But people get all bent out of shape about it and it just ends up generating bad attitudes on both sides.

tcsd1236
10-08-03, 03:35 PM
We'll cite for dazzling lights for something like that..probably around a $75 ticket.

phuzz01
10-08-03, 04:08 PM
Originally posted by EricTheBald
Sure, on many depts the number of tickets written is a factor in the officer's routine efficiency reports, but lets be real...
Even if a cop is specifically out to write as many tickets as he can it's not like traffic offenders are hard to come across.

Good point. But the number of tickets will only be a factor for someone who shows clear signs of not being productive or proactive. Someone who is out making good felony arrests will always be considered better than someone who can write bagillions of traffic tickets.

That being said, I believe that traffic stops are one of the best ways to make good arrests and increase safety.

EricTheBald
10-08-03, 07:21 PM
Phuzz -

My point is basically this:

There is a feeling among motorists that cops have a ticket quota.

While it is true in a few depts here or there, it is not true for the vast majority of depts.

However, the mythology about quotas does originate out of something that is factually true, which is that in general, cops have to write at least SOME tickets and make some arrests, or their chain of command will ownder what they are doing with their time.

phuzz01
10-08-03, 10:12 PM
As far as I can tell, we are in agreement about everything. So no use arguing. :D

coucousis
10-08-03, 10:22 PM
Nothing in the Highway safety code preventing drivers from flashing headligth....

I have never saw anyone cited for that... I've heard of a LEO that tried to submit a file to the Crown attorney under an obstruction in the Criminal code.... but crown refused to prosecute....

So.... I beleive that there is not much to be done with this.

Anyway as others said ... the important is that people slowed down... one way or the other.

EricTheBald
10-08-03, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by phuzz01
As far as I can tell, we are in agreement about everything. So no use arguing. :D


No fair!!

tcsd1236
10-10-03, 12:59 PM
Originally posted by EricTheBald
There's specific case law in NY on this issue.

I can't recall the cite offhand. I came across it once while looking for something else.


Guy passed a cop running radar, flashed the oncoming traffic and the cop came after him.
He wrote him on something else, I can't recall what.
The court said that it was obvious after testimony that the cop had written the other ticket because he couldn't cite for the actual perceived offense.
Again, I don't recall the details too well but I believe it was because there was no direct statutory law on the subject.
I also can't recall if this was trial level or appellate level, but the defendent DID win.


. Basically, it means that you write for the observed violation, not substitute violations on the roadside to appease the individual. You don't write a seat belt ticket if you stopped for speed, for example. You can write the seat belt in addition to the speed if its observed, but not in place of. Thats what I don't get with some officers who do that sort of thing, or do roadside reductions..by the time they do a roadside reduction, then the DA reduces it, the ticket winds up being a shadow of the original infraction.

Stump
10-12-03, 08:51 PM
Hee hee... I reaped the benefits of this a few days ago. I was traveling on the expressway (I was going 85/65) and saw a car on the other side of the expressway flashing his lights. I slowed down, and wouldn'tcha know.... statie was right around the corner. He got a guy behind me, but luckily I had slowed down. Whoo hoo!

sbrad
10-13-03, 02:21 AM
I would guess that 75% of my stops for traffic offenses are just because I want to get into a car or check someone out. You have to do something REALLY stupid for me to write you a ticket. Also, alot of times I will sit and work morning go-to-work traffic (pretty early here-around 4:30-5:00-since alot of people are going to Atlanta) and if they're going 10-15 over, I'll bump my blue lights to warn them. That actually has a great effect on people, and it only takes a couple of mornings before everyone is going the speed limit when they leave my county, and that's all I want.
Hell, if the Sheriff came in one morning and had a stack of tickets on his desk written by me, I'd be doing transports for a month.

woody6226
10-13-03, 11:58 AM
Originally posted by Stump
Hee hee... I reaped the benefits of this a few days ago. I was traveling on the expressway (I was going 85/65) and saw a car on the other side of the expressway flashing his lights. I slowed down, and wouldn'tcha know.... statie was right around the corner. He got a guy behind me, but luckily I had slowed down. Whoo hoo!

THats exactly what im talking about. I had the same thing happen to me. However, no one answered my question yet whether it is illegal or not in Massachusetts.

phuzz01
10-13-03, 04:16 PM
Originally posted by woody6226
THats exactly what im talking about. I had the same thing happen to me. However, no one answered my question yet whether it is illegal or not in Massachusetts.

Ummm, I thought I had. In Mass, it is illegal to "display a flashing, rotating or oscillating light in any direction" with the exception of turn signals, hazard lights, and emergency vehicle lights. Flashing your headlights is displaying a flashing light which is not a turn signal or hazard light. So it is illegal, and I know that cites get written under that language. However, I did concede that some judges might find that a dubious application of that particular statute.

Sorry if I wasn't clear before.

-Alex

Lfpdlieu302
10-13-03, 04:21 PM
Originally posted by woody6226
But I also like when people warn me as well. I was going 55 in a 40 (HUGE SPEED TRAP) and i was soo happy to the person who flashed thier lights.

you were doing 15 mph over the speed limit and think it was a speed trap? how fast must you go before you think you deserve a ticket?

woody6226
10-13-03, 05:34 PM
Originally posted by phuzz01
Ummm, I thought I had.
Sorry if I wasn't clear before.

-Alex

Thanks, it was probably me that wasnt paying attention.

woody6226
10-13-03, 05:42 PM
Originally posted by Lfpdlieu302
you were doing 15 mph over the speed limit and think it was a speed trap? how fast must you go before you think you deserve a ticket?

You have to see this road to understand. And to answer your question, i would have to be going 25 mph over the speed limit to deserve a ticket

CXT_180
10-13-03, 09:06 PM
I sometimes flash my lightbar at other cars to get them to slow down...does that count? :grin:

woody6226
10-13-03, 09:18 PM
Originally posted by CXT_180
I sometimes flash my lightbar at other cars to get them to slow down...does that count? :grin:

Thats the ultimate flashing of lights, lol.