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Flashing high beams to warn of a checkpoint

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  • Flashing high beams to warn of a checkpoint

    Okay, another 56 code question. Please know that I have checked with several fellow officers and gone through the code a couple times to no avail before posting this.

    Do we have a violation that would cover someone flashing their brights that is seperate from Failure to Dim? The other night a guy flashed me to warn me of a DL checkpoint around the bend. I didn't turn around on him, but it got me thinking about what the charge would have been. It seems like there would be an improper use violation, but if there is I haven't seen it.

    Thanks in advance.
    Did you ever notice that incorrectly is only spelled correctly when it's spelled incorrectly?

  • #2
    Try this...

    SECTION 56-5-4780. Use of multiple-beam road-lighting equipment.

    Whenever a motor vehicle is being operated on a roadway or shoulder adjacent thereto during the times specified in Section 56-5-4450, the driver shall use a distribution of light or composite beam directed high enough and of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a safe distance in advance of the vehicle, subject to the following requirements and limitations:

    (1) Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within five hundred feet, such driver shall use a distribution of light or composite beam so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver;

    (2) The lowermost distribution of light or composite beam specified in item (2) of Section 56-5-4770 shall be aimed to avoid glare at all times, regardless of road contour and loading; and

    (3) Whenever the driver of a vehicle follows another vehicle within two hundred feet to the rear, except when engaged in the act of overtaking and passing, such driver shall use a distribution of light permissible under this section other than the uppermost distribution of light specified in item (1) of Section 56-5-4770.

    So by flashing the high beams at you, they are violating that unless they are outside of 500 feet.

    That and you could possibly argue this for articulation:

    SECTION 56-5-4410. Unlawful to operate unsafe or improperly equipped vehicle, or to violate any provisions of article.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or move or for the owner to cause or knowingly permit to be driven or moved on any highway any vehicle or combination of vehicles which is in such an unsafe condition as to endanger any person or property or which does not contain those parts or is not at all times equipped with lights, brakes, steering and other equipment in proper condition and adjustment as required in this article or which is equipped in any manner in violation of this article or for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required under this article.


    So for that brief second while the lights are high, they are potentially unsafe by the fact that they are interfering with the vision of other motorists. Plus there's the prohibition clause.

    Bear in mind though I am not sworn, I'm just making an educated guess based on how I'm reading the statute. May want to wait for andy, DieselBear, etc., to chime in.
    SCFC Dispatch Manager

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    • #3
      in NY we have a section for 'd***ling headlights'......i know it doesn't help you guys, but....yeah.

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      • #4
        Yeah, 4780 was the best that I could come up with. I was thinking along the same lines as you were about that "brief second." Just hoping that there's something specifically mentioning flashing the lights, but I don't think there is.
        Did you ever notice that incorrectly is only spelled correctly when it's spelled incorrectly?

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        • #5
          Apparently he wanted attention, so turn around and stop him to find out what's going on. Maybe he had other reasons?
          Quote of the week: "I was going how fast? And that's a school zone?"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 10-74 S8 View Post
            Apparently he wanted attention, so turn around and stop him to find out what's going on. Maybe he had other reasons?
            That would work, but I would like to actually have the appropriate charge in case something more comes of the stop. Our judges can get a little picky sometimes.
            Did you ever notice that incorrectly is only spelled correctly when it's spelled incorrectly?

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            • #7
              Brings back a good one:

              Back when I was a young, over-eager newbie, I turned around and pulled over one for doing the same. He got an attitude, and I charged him with obstruction of justice...and lost.

              // better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission?
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