Lawmakers in Minnesota have introduced legislation that
would outlaw 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
drivers can purchase them on the Internet for a couple of hundred dollars.
People can even buy kits and build the signal changer
Sponsored by Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, and Sen.
Charles Wiger, DFL-North St. Paul, the proposals call for violators to face up
to a $1,000 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail.
The measures are intended to deter anyone other than public
safety and transit agencies from using and/or 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
attached to some intersections.
A recent U.S. Department of Transportation survey showed the
devices are in use at 26,500 intersections in 78 cities across the country.
HF204 and SF7 are before their respective Transportation