North Dakota bill bans traffic-signal devices

| 1/14/2005

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.