Getting a ticket after warning of a speed trap

Durham regional police stand by law on "alternating" lights to give motorists tickets

Flashing your headlights to warn other drivers of a speed trap in Durham region, will land you a $155 ticket.

Durham Regional Police reveal they have given these type of tickets dozens of times. But now, one person they stopped this summer is contesting it.  

Police spokesperson Sgt. Nancy van Rooy is standing by ticketing these motorists, pointing to a section of the Highway Traffic Act which says only emergency vehicles can use "highbeam headlamps that produce alternating flashes of white light."

Van Rooy says this covers multiple flashes, not a quick one if you go through an intersection at a yellow light.

However, X-Copper Legal Services regional manager Stephanie Columbus says she doesn't take that law as flashing your highbeams together, but rather having your left and right lights alternating.

Columbus notes all laws are open to interpretation.

There is no specific law that stops drivers from warning others on the road of speed traps, however there is a provision of the Highway Traffic Act which prohibits flashing your highbeams when its dark outside because of the distraction.

Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur underlines she doesn't tell police forces what to do or how to ticket people. However, she says if someone has a problem with a ticket they received, they can fight it.

She adds residents can also make a complaint with their local police board.

They key is safety, according to Cst. Clint Stibbe of Toronto Police Traffic Services. He stresses officers are just doing their jobs to catch drivers who aren't following the rules. Stibbe isn't only pointing to people who need to slow down, but also those who flash their lights causing a distraction for other motorists.

Leave a comment:

showing all comments · Subscribe to comments
Comment Like
  • 13
  1. Beamer Smith posted on 12/05/2013 09:06 PM
    I guess Durham Region wants that ticket money more than they want people to slow down...

    Sad really..
  2. Beamer Smith posted on 12/05/2013 09:33 PM
    I hate that old saw "you can always fight it"
    1) it costs as much or more than the ticket to hire a paralegal or counsel to help fight it.. .
    2) if you fight it yourself and you give a good arguement more often than not they will find you guilty and call it a suspended sentance -which still affects your insurance...
    3) As they have killed off the night courts in the Toronto area It also costs you a day or three off work, also rather punitive...

    So folks just bite the bullet, pay the fine, insurance rates go up (often a surprise) and the province gets to say that people accpt this as the norm.

    So just to get the justice you feel you deserve, you wind up paying more.. How is This Justice?

    Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur should apologise to the poeple for saying such a thing.
    1. Steve posted on 12/08/2013 02:15 PM
      @Beamer Smith The process is the punisment
  3. Walter posted on 12/05/2013 09:59 PM
    This was covered a few years ago. Flashing lights can warn of any distraction on the road, including a broken down vehicle on the side of the road, wildlife on the road, etc. I often flash my lights due to an unusual vehicle on the side of the road, and then notice after that it is a police car.
  4. Donovan posted on 12/05/2013 11:43 PM
    Also was covered here -> (

    Quoted by Staff Sgt. Brad Bulmer of York Regional Police: "There is no offense during the day for alerting fellow motorists about ploice officers conducting speed enforcement activities".

    So unless he was doing this in the dark, he'd be free of the charge!
  5. dimitri posted on 12/06/2013 04:54 AM
    That's what PIGS want to do, then they want you to feel sorry and care when one of them gets mangled in action or accident. Pffffft!
  6. Brian posted on 12/06/2013 07:43 AM
    I was charged by DRPS for doing this 10 years ago. The cop charged me with failing to lower high beams to oncoming traffic. I fought the ticket and won. But there is a case where I got from a former Toronto officer who was teaching Police Foundations at Durham College and he said the case that he knew of the purpose of the speed trap is to slow people down and by the person flashing thier lights it slowed people down. Other then the lost revenue for the Region it did the same purpose. I never had to use that as the ticket was issued in the middle of the day and the cop didn't have the justification to charge me. But ya Durham Region must be hurting for money
    1. Karl Burgin posted on 12/06/2013 10:25 AM
      @Brian Apparently they are misusing the law when they charge you for flashing your lights.
      I assume they charge you only because emergency vehicles are supposed to flash their beams.
      Which according to an ex-cop isn't necessarily true. Emergency vehicles can flash their beams from one side to the other (left to right). Law doesn't saw anything about flash beams from low-to-high.
  7. Angry Bill posted on 12/06/2013 11:02 AM
    These cops be like Kevin O'Leary.. It's all about the money, all the time.

    I get a chuckle from some of their weak arguments as to why they do it.. Either they are very stupid, or they think we are. Seriously, flashing lights to warn someone is a huge safety hazard because people could become distracted? Really? Distracted from what.. from paying a whopping ticket to the cops, not to mention the ten fold hit they're going to get from their usurious insurance company?

    It's just a big racket.. they're legalized racketeers. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Be a good little citizen, shut up, and give them your money. That's all they want. And if you want to feel better about it, you can always swallow their Kool Aid and tell yourself they're doing it because "it's all about the SAFETY!"
    1. Karl Burgin posted on 12/06/2013 03:45 PM
      @Angry Bill No ANGRY BILL. They don't want other people to mistake those flashing their lights as emergency vehicles- because apparently they do the same thing. That's the official explanation I keep hearing.

      It's outrageous I know. What driver in their right mind is going to mistake lights flashing in the opposite direction, as an emergency vehicle???
  8. john posted on 12/06/2013 11:14 AM
    somebody told me that if u contest the ticket if the cop who give u the ticket dos not show up in court the judge has to kill the ticket . i dont know if that the case i dont drive ( i cant afford it ) but that's what i am told .
    1. Karl Burgin posted on 12/06/2013 03:43 PM
      @john That is true.
      Went to court for the something similar. There were 15 people in front of me. 8 to 9 of them were let off in succession- all because the cop didn't show up the day.

      Unfortunately, the cop who wrote me my ticket was there :(
  9. Waterloo Resident posted on 04/08/2014 11:12 PM
    I want to start a class action lawsuit against the Ontario police forces who give tickets for flashing their high-beams, and I seek have the people's money given back to those who were ticketed going back to 2005. This lawsuit involves ALL police agencies in ALL of Ontario.

    I want to do the same as this fellow in Florida did, now because of his class action lawsuit it is LEGAL to warn others of speed traps.

    Those who support me in this class action lawsuit, one that will probably go to the supreme court of Canada, please enter your comments below:

    I read the following at this site:

    Quote: "The courts ruled this specific action was not illegal and that charges under section 162(2) HTA, which prohibits alternating high-beams on vehicles other than emergency vehicles, did not apply. All outstanding charges were tossed and police no longer issue such tickets at the direction of the Solicitor General."

    I'm using those 2 two sites as many other similar instances, as well as the right to free speech, as the basis of my $230 Million dollar lawsuit against the offending police divisions. I want to make sure that tyranny does not gain a foothold in Canada the way it is in America, I want to make sure people get to keep their freedom of speech.

    In 2010 I successful instigated a referendum to rid Waterloo's water supply of harmful toxic fluoride from the city's water supply and I am not afraid of a good legal fight for the protection of citizens (Fluoride in toothpaste is of the good type, but the stuff in the water is a different type completely, and it is very harmful to the bones and other organs in the body.)

    The 4 lawyers I have working on the case say that there is a 90% chance I should win and that the unfairly ticketed citizens will have their moneys returned to them.

    Please post your vote below:
showing all comments

Your GTA

Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts

Becoming a member only takes 60 seconds! Members get access to exclusive information and products that non-members do not, including concert ticket presales, trips, advance notice on upcoming entertainment events, movie screening passes, music giveaways and more!

Login with Facebook

Today's Poll

What are your plans for the Easter Weekend?

Voting is restricted to one vote every 24 hour(s) VoteResults

Top Stories