UPDATE: Friday, June 1, 2012
The Kansas Highway Patrol contacted KAKE News on Friday with an update to information they provided us on Thursday. There is a law against 'flashing lights' on motor vehicles in Kansas.
Where some could interpret this law as a reference to flashing lights similar to those on patrol cars and emergency vehicles, some Troopers in Kansas have used statute 8-1729-C to issue citations specifically for flashing high beam lights to alert other drivers of a speed enforcement operation.
We also contacted the Wichita Police Department. Lt. Doug Nolte tells us that there is no law in Wichita to prohibit using high beams to alert other drivers of a speed enforcement operation. Lt. Nolte also tells us that such a law would be a difficult one to enforce on a regular basis.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Tonight on Good Question, flashing your high-beam headlights to warn oncoming traffic that a police officer is running radar up the road. This was common practice back in the 80s and 90s, but is it legal in Kansas?
Is it against the law in Kansas to flash your headlights at oncoming traffic to warn drivers of an upcoming speed enforcement operation? Just a few weeks ago, a circuit judge in Florida ruled that using headlight communication in Florida was not against the law and that it’s protected by a constitutional right to free speech under the first amendment.
But what about Kansas? According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, there is nothing in the statute that says it’s illegal to use your high beams to ‘warn’ other drivers of a police officer running radar. So, in Kansas, it’s not illegal.
There is a law that prohibits the use of high beams within 500 feet of oncoming traffic at the time of day headlights are required. State troopers can pull you over and issue a ticket if they observe you violating that law. In other words, if it’s night time, and you want to feel like you are doing fellow drivers a favor and warn them of a speed enforcement operation, make sure you are not within 500 feet of oncoming traffic.
If you have a good question, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter at twitter.com/herndon10. I’ll answer your good question every Thursday on KAKE news at 10.