By David Madden
TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — It’s a time-honored tradition on the road: drivers flashing their high beams to warn oncoming traffic of police tracking speeders.
Now there is a push in New Jersey to protect those drivers from getting a ticket.
There’s a little-known appellate court ruling in New Jersey that, in effect, allows the practice, according to Ocean County assemblyman Ron Dancer.
“This was obviously a First Amendment protection, to be able to communicate with oncoming motorists,” he explains.
But the court ruling has never been codified, so cops who continue to write those tickets use the term “improper use of headlights.”
Dancer seeks to change the statute, to put in writing that tickets can’t be written just because you’re warning someone of a speed trap ahead.
The New Jersey State Association of Police Chiefs is opposed to the change, insisting it will make a cop’s job more difficult. But Dancer suggests that some towns are just setting up those speed traps to fund their local courts.