Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Gadget Enables Individuals To Get All Green Lights

Tired of sitting at endless red lights? Frustrated by lights that turn from green to red too quickly, trapping you in traffic?

Now anyone can breeze through congested intersections just like the police, thanks to a $300 dashboard device that changes traffic lights from red to green, making nasty commutes a thing of the past and leaving other drivers open-mouthed at your ability to manipulate traffic.

But what if everyone had one?

That's the fear of traffic control officials, who believe chaos would take over the roads. That's also the potential facing communities from Troy to Washington Township as Internet-marketed knockoffs of the device -- originally intended only for police and fire vehicles -- have become available to the public.

The knockoffs have traffic engineers investigating whether lockout measures will work against the copycats and whether hundreds of thousands of dollars in traffic technology investments will become obsolete.

Unlike other devices, like radar jammers and certain laser detectors that emit radio signals, the MIRT and other signal changers emit an infrared beam, so it doesn't run afoul of the Federal Communications Commission, said Chelsea Fallon, a spokeswoman for the agency.

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