A Kansas state representative
wants his state to join the list of those banning devices that allow drivers to
change traffic lights from red to green.
Rep. David Huff, R-Lenexa, has
introduced a bill that would not only ban the sale or purchase of the devices,
called mobile infrared transmitters, or MIRT – it would make it illegal to even
Under the bill, a violation would
be a misdemeanor. However, if a person using a MIRT caused an accident that
resulted in injury to another person or damage to property, the offense would
become a felony.
Huff’s bill does allow emergency
vehicles to use the devices; they were originally intended for that purpose,
but have become available to the general public over the Internet in recent
years. Federal law does not control them since they use infrared light, not
federally regulated radio waves, to force traffic signals to change.
recent U.S. Department of Transportation survey showed the devices are in use
at 26,500 intersections in 78 cities across the country.
Legislators in several other states
have introduced bills similar to Huff’s proposal. In Kentucky, State Rep. John
Vincent, R-Ashland, has drafted a bill intended to deter anyone other than
public safety and transit agencies from using mobile infrared transmitters. In
Rhode Island, State Rep. Joseph McNamara, D-Warwick, has introduced a similar
addition, similar proposals have been introduced in California, Indiana,
Virginia and Alaska.
The Kansas bill, HB2522, was
introduced Jan. 14. It has been referred to the House Transportation Committee,
of which Huff is a member.