Iowa bill would ban traffic-signal changers

| Thursday, March 10, 2005

If an Iowa lawmaker gets his way, devices that can change some traffic signals from red to green would be outlawed.

A traffic-light changer is designed to allow police, fire and other emergency officials to clear intersections before they approach.

Sponsored by Rep. Gerald Jones, R-Silver City, the bill is intended to deter anyone other than public safety and transit agencies from using so-called mobile infrared transmitters, or MIRTs. It calls for violators to face up to 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

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. The light-changing mechanisms have been in use since the early 1970s.

HF62 is in the House Transportation Committee.