Traffic-light changers still legal in New York

| Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A bill in the New York Legislature that sought to outlaw the use of devices that can change some traffic signals from red to green has died.

It remained in the Assembly Transportation Committee when the session ended, effectively killing it for the year. The bill – S281 – unanimously passed the Senate this spring.

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 less than a couple of hundred dollars.

Sponsored by Sen. Owen Johnson, R-West Babylon, the dead bill was intended to deter anyone other than public safety and transit agencies from using so-called mobile infrared transmitters, or MIRTs. Violators would have faced a fine as much as $300.

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