The North Dakota House has
advanced legislation to outlaw the use of devices that can change some traffic
signals from red to green.
A traffic-light changer is
designed to allow police, fire and other emergency officials to clear
intersections before they approach. But some drivers have managed to purchase
them on the Internet for a couple of hundred dollars.
People can even buy kits and build
the signal changers themselves.
House lawmakers voted 91-0 on
Tuesday, Jan. 11, to forward the bill to the Senate.
The bill – HB1096 – is intended to
deter anyone other than public safety and transit agencies from possessing
so-called mobile infrared transmitters, or MIRTs.
The devices, which sit on a
vehicle’s dash, are not regulated by current federal standards because they rely
on a beam of light instead of a radio wave to trigger the light-changing
mechanisms that have been installed at some intersections.
The devices have been in use at
intersections since the early 1970s.
A recent U.S. Department of
Transportation survey showed the devices are in use at 26,500 intersections in
78 cities across the country.