Tennessee bill targets traffic-signal changers

| 3/16/2005

An effort in the Tennessee House would 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.

Sponsored by Rep. Phillip Pinion, D-Union City, the proposal in Tennessee calls for violators to face up to 30 days in jail and/or a $50 fine.

It is intended to deter anyone other than public safety and transit agencies from using 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.

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

HB508 is in the House Transportation Committee.