Warning others of speed traps under scrutiny
It’s a universal, unspoken code of the road: A quick flash of the high beams to warn oncoming motorists about a looming police speed trap. But is it illegal?
That act of common courtesy got a Toronto man a $110 ticket and has spurred debate about whether drivers are legally allowed to communicate via their headlights, and whether the police officer in question overstepped his bounds in interpreting the law.
Brad Diamond didn’t think he’d done anything wrong when he was pulled over last year after flashing his headlights to warn motorists they were heading toward a police radar outpost.
The Toronto police officer told Diamond he had violated a section of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, which states "no person shall use high-beam headlamps that produce alternating flashes of white light on any vehicle" other than an emergency vehicle.
Diamond, a producer for the TSN car show Motoring, argued politely with the young officer after being ticketed, but went home believing maybe he was wrong and didn’t know the law. After studying the provincial act with a colleague, however, he was convinced the officer made the mistake and decided to fight the ticket.
A few weeks ago he got his day in court and before watching two other drivers fight a similar ticket, his charge was dropped after police came forward with no evidence.
Spokespeople for the Toronto police have since said that alerting drivers to speed traps is not a crime, and Diamond — who has become something of a folk hero for his efforts — probably should not have been ticketed.
The Canadian Press