(From ACLU of Missouri)
The Grain Valley Police Department will no longer issue tickets to drivers who flash their headlights to communicate with other drivers. The city of Grain Valley repealed this portion of its ordinance that individuals be ticketed for warning of speed trips after the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri filed a federal lawsuit on Dec. 3 on behalf of Jerry L. Jarman, Jr. The lawsuit was dismissed today after the parties reached a settlement.
While driving in late August 2014 in Grain Valley, a suburb of Kansas City, Jarman observed a speed-trap and flashed his headlights to communicate with other drivers that they should proceed with caution. He was pulled over by a Grain Valley police officer and issued a citation for allegedly “interfering with radar” by flashing headlights at oncoming drivers.
In April 2014, the ACLU of Missouri secured a permanent injunction from U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey against the City of Ellisville, a suburb of St. Louis, for citing drivers who flashed their headlights to warn other drivers of radar ahead.
“We are pleased that Grain Valley agrees that drivers should not be penalized for warning others to drive cautiously,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. “Flashing headlights is a readily understood way of communicating a message and is protected by the First Amendment.”
Court documents can be found on the legal dockets page of the ACLU of Missouri’s website. As part of the settlement, Grain Valley paid damages to Jarman, as well as his attorneys’ fees and costs.