Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has signed into law a bill that outlaws a device that can change some traffic signals from red to green, according to the Associated Press.
A traffic-light changer is designed to allow police, fire and other emergency officials to clear intersections before they approach. But some impatient drivers have managed to purchase them on the Internet for as low as $100, according to published reports. People can even buy kits and build the signal changer themselves.
The new law is intended to deter anyone other than public safety and transit agencies from using mobile infrared transmitters, or MIRTs. Under HB2522, a person caught possessing the device will be charged with a misdemeanor. If a person using a transmitter causes an accident that results in injury or death to another person, the offense will become a felony.
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 26,500 intersections in 78 cities across the country are equipped to use the devices.