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Worcester Telegram & Gazette

WORCESTER- Most emergency vehicles EMS/FIRE/POLICE across the country have it: a system that changes traffic lights to green on command, allowing them to whisk through busy intersections during an emergency call. They aid emergency vehicles and are controlled by a radio fequency signal.

Now they are being sold online to anyone who can pay the $300-$600 price tag. Another company offers a kit and manual to build the system at home. :shock:
 
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Just like anyone can purchase a blue light online it comes as no suprise to me that a preemption emitter (as they are termed I guess) can be purchased or created. It is basically a power supply that usually powers a clear strobe tube in a rapid way and because of how it is designed that emits a type of frequency which the traffic lights recieve (this is how I have come to understand it) I have looked into it a bit online when it was first coming about in this area and it seems most companies require id, letterhead, shipped to dept the whole 9 yards however I am sure there are some out there that don't which is scary. I assume most of these devices are universal for obvious reasons. I suppose law enforcement must keep an eye out for these things but with new technology should bring about new law. What can you cite someone for..probably just a $35.00 flashing light in any direction violation. It is more then that and so should the punishment. Any thoughts?
 

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I can see a new law already being drafted.....

Should include $2500 fine and one year loss of license!
 

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There was a similar AP article about this a couple weeks ago and I've done a little bit of research into the technologies.

1) In many states, use of such devices is illegal under specific laws for interfering with traffic signals.

2) The most advanced (and prevalent) technology is part of the 3M Opticom system. They call it the "Priority Control System" and it is best used with 3M's advanced traffic management systems. The Opticom uses an infrared pulse that transmits a signal to the traffic signal and gives a "natural" green light in the direction the emergency vehicle is traveling (it waits for pedestrians, proper yellow light time, etc.). The infrared pulse also contains unique vehicle information (up to 10,000 different vehicles), which determines the type of vehicle, unit number and a priority level. All the information can is recorded and can be reviewed, including time of day and duration of the specific activation of the system. This identifier also determines priority when multiple units are activating the system from different directions. It is first come, first served based on priority level. Example, if I firetruck and and ambulance arrive at the intersection at the same time, and the ambulance has a priority over the firetruck, the ambulance gets the green light. If 2 police cars are approaching, the first one to activate the signal gets the green light. The recording features work best when interfaced with large scale traffic control systems which allow a command center to monitor traffic activity in real time.
Since the system uses identifying signals in the pulse, it can't be used by unauthorized vehicles (that and the emitters are about $1500). Further, the emitters also contain a visual light component. Usually in the form of a bright white halogen light that flashes when the unit is active. The traffic signals (as I'm sure most of us have seen) contain a warning light to identify that the signal has been activated - this allows the vehicle operator to be immediately aware that the green light is in fact "their green light" and will stay that way until they clear the intersection.

There are other systems out there - I'm not sure what is most prevalent around here. Other systems rely on radio signals, many of which are not directional, or sound signals. Regardless, encryption really shouldn't be a very difficult task.
I haven't found any "make your own" plans, nor any cheap versions for sale on the internet - at least none that I believe might actually work.
 

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Guess they are already working on it... but they took my 2500 and knocked off a zero :(

AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE USE OF TRAFFIC SIGNAL CONTROL DEVICES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

Chapter 89 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2000 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 7B the following section:—
SECTION 7C. No person driving or riding as a passenger in a motor vehicle shall use, activate, operate or employ any electronic or optical device, including a priority control system emitter, to change, control, alter or otherwise influence a traffic signal regulating traffic at an intersection; provided, that this section shall not apply to persons in fire apparatus while going to a fire or responding to an alarm, or persons in a vehicle of a police or recognized protective department or persons in an ambulance, in an emergency and while in performance of a public duty or while transporting a sick or injured person to a hospital or other destination where professional medical services are available. Violation of any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $250.
 
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Do Constables get to use those when serving civil process, hey ya never know I mean the client wants rush service whatta way to provided it :shock:
 
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