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Irrational News Gadget May Wreak Traffic Havoc BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Oct 30, 03 | 8:50 am

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.

Police are worried about the possibility of intersection chaos if people duel over control for lights. But even more fundamentally, the dashboard device may be impossible to detect even from a police car right next to it, and it may be perfectly legal anyway...



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