popping up on roads you've traveled free of charge for years, Florida is always busy devising ways to get over on drivers.
Here's the thing: Just 'cause the state -- or its officers -- does it, doesn't mean it's legal.
A class-action suit filed by a Tampa driver might get revenge for thousands of tickets doled out to motorists who flicked their lights to other drivers to warn of speed traps. Turns out there's no law against that. "These officers are misusing Florida law and ignoring a court order," attorney Mark Jones tells Riptide. "It's about making money."
Jones filed the lawsuit on behalf of driver Eric Campbell, who was hit with a $100 fine when a lurking state trooper pulled him over for flashing his brights at traffic going the other direction.
The trooper cited state statute 316.2397, which prohibits "certain lights."
But six years ago, Seminole County court ruled against officers using that statute to cite drivers using their lights to communicate with each other.
Battling ticket-happy troopers has become the crusade of attorney Jones, who has traveled around the state, including Miami-Dade County, representing drivers ticketed for flashing headlights.
If Campbell's case is classified as a class action, Jones's firm will pore through the more than 10,000 citations using the statute to find improper applications -- and then try to contact those drivers.
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But don't believe the wild numbers in a widely circulating Tampa Bay television story, the attorney says. The station wrongly reported that Jones would seek $15,000 in damages for each ticket, with the potential hit to the state being more than $156 million.
In fact, he's after only a $100 refund.
So if you get a ticket for using your headlights to conspire with other drivers, don't pay it. Email us and we'll refer you to Jones.