Road Safety News

Flashing motorist fined for obstructing police

Wednesday 5th January 2011

A driver has been convicted of a criminal offence for flashing his headlights at oncoming motorists to warn them of a police speed trap (Daily Mail).

Michael Thompson claimed he was doing his ‘civic duty’ by alerting drivers on the opposite side of a dual carriageway, and denied that he was perverting the course of justice.

Thompson denied wilfully obstructing a policewoman in the execution of her duty but was convicted at Grimsby Magistrates' Court. He was fined £175, ordered to pay £250 costs and a £15 victims’ surcharge.

Thompson said he had previously been involved in an accident when two drivers in front of him braked sharply after seeing a speed trap.

He said: “It is not an offence to warn people of a possible speed trap because of the danger involved with vehicles braking quite hard.

“It’s a civic duty to warn people. I flashed my lights. I had a very good reason to warn oncoming motorists, in my opinion. My first thought was: ‘This may cause an accident.’

“I tried to warn vehicles that there was a speed trap. Because I challenged the officer he would not let me off with a warning.”

Prosecutor John Owston said: “You were doing it to warn them of a speed trap because as a motorist you don’t want other motorists to be caught speeding. You wanted to make sure that people who were speeding slowed down.

“You are causing people to brake to avoid going through a speed trap at an excessive speed and all it does then is allow people, when they are past it, to pick up speed again and speed on.

“It’s not the speed trap that causes the accident it’s the idiot behind the wheel who brakes heavily that causes the accident.”

Andrew Howard, the AA’s head of road safety, said: “It’s an unusual case, but I have heard of this happening before. There are lots of people who are not aware of this law.”

Click here to read the full Daily Mail report.


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