Flashing headlights ruled protected speech

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MEDFORD, Ore. — A local judge in Southern Oregon has ruled that flashing your headlights to warn other drivers that a sheriff's deputy is approaching is protected as free speech under the Oregon Constitution.

In a ruling filed Wednesday in Jackson County Justice Court in Medford, Judge Joseph Charter ruled that truck driver Christopher Hill was not guilty of misusing his headlights last September on Highway 140 in White City.

It came out at trial that a Jackson County sheriff's deputy pulled Hill over after another deputy spotted Hill flashing his headlights to warn oncoming drivers of the deputy behind him.

Charter found that the law covering the use of high beams was valid, but was unconstitutional as it was applied by the deputy, "because it punished protected speech."